Jorge Sampaoli held his head in his hands. Lionel Messi stared at the floor. The rest of the Argentina players gazed aimlessly into space with their hands on their hips as Croatia celebrations broke out all around. Luka Modric had just filed a contender for goal of the tournament and twisted the knife in the process, leaving Argentina, twice world champions, on the brink of elimination. By the time Ivan Rakitic added a third, in the closing minutes, Argentina were broken.
Their fate now rests in the hands of others after a humiliating defeat that brutally exposed the limitations of this Argentina team. It is hard – almost impossible – to imagine how Sampaoli and his players can recover. Messi was a passenger throughout, lost in a game that had turned into a chastening experience for everyone in an Argentina shirt, but in particular Willy Caballero, who made a calamitous mistake to gift Ante Rebic the opening goal.
Written by Stuart James at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/21/argentina-croatia-world-cup-2018-group-d-match-report under the title “Argentina on brink as Ante Rebic sparks rout to put Croatia through”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.