Argentina suffered a shocking 3-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia on Thursday, further deteriorating their hopes of qualifying for the Round of 16. It was the South American nation’s biggest defeat in the group stages of the World Cup since 1958, when they lost 6-1 to Czechoslovakia. Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic and skipper Luka Modric were on target for Croatia as they humiliated the 2014 World Cup runners-up.
After the loss, the Argentine media spared no words and described the result as “catastrophic”. The Clarin newspaper, on its official website wrote, “Catastrophe against Croatia, Argentina disappoints and is on the way out of the World Cup!” The La Nacion website further described it as “ridiculous”. “Argentina were ridiculed by Croatia and has jeopardised its future in the competition,” it said.
In spite of Lionel Messi being the only player on the field that looked to have some skills behind his feet, the media did not spare the skipper either. Television commentator Diego Latorre, of the TV Publica network, slammed him on the show. Messi was at a standstill, he was off the pace, depressed.” With goalkeeper Willy Caballero committing a massive howler to give the European nation an early lead, he was targetted by Infobae news website, who described the defeat as “humiliation” and called Caballero’s effort sarcastically as “incredible”.
After drawing their opening contest 1-1 against Iceland, Argentina needed a win to push for a qualification in Round of 16. But the 3-0 defeat has seriously upset their chances, and now La Albiceleste need to push for a win against Nigeria to get back into the thick of things. Moreover, they would also have to be dependent on the other results in the group going their way.
Croatian media hail “wizard” Luka Modric
Meanwhile, as Croatia qualified for the knockout stages for the first time since 1998, the media back in the country celebrated the achievement. Croatian daily Sportske Novosti described the win as “a magnificent victory to be told by generations to come.” The daily further added: “It was a rhapsody to be remembered for years and the performance suggests that the current Croatian generation can make all our dreams come true.” The website of the newspaper further praised coach Zlatko Dalic for his tactical “masterclass”.
The index website described Croatia’s win as “only the bravest fans dared dream of”. “It is now imperative to finish top of the group in order to avoid a likely last-16 clash with France,” it further added. The news website further praised Dejan Lovren and skipper Luka Modric. “Dejan Lovren has so far been the best centre-back in the tournament and Modric the most outstanding midfielder.”
Split daily Slobodna Dalmacij wrote that Croatia “shocked Messi, Diego Maradona and the rest of the world.” The newsppaer added, “Croatian fans in Nizhny Novgorod were in full swing, although outnumbered three to one by the Argentinian contingent sporting drums.”
Vecernji List praised Croatia midfield for stifling Lionel Messi. The win was celebrated throughout Croatia after a fairytale performance which shattered Messi’s Argentina to pieces. While Messi was totally subdued, Modric played like a wizard and deserved all the plaudits,” it said.