Argentina’s hopes of progression at World Cup 2018 are on life support after Lionel Messi disappeared and Croatia roared to a vital 3-0 victory that sent them into the knockouts.
Head coach Jorge Sampaoli’s woeful tactical rejig into a 3-4-2-1 formation led to an error-strewn display, that brought out the worst in the Barcelona icon.
All three goals came in the second half. Eintracht Frankfurt forward Ante Rebic – lucky to stay on after a first-half horror challenge on Eduardo Salvio – emphatically volleyed in from goalkeeper Wily Caballero’s cataclysmic chipped pass, before Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric struck a goal of staggering quality from 25 yards.
Barca’s Ivan Rakitic finished off against a bedraggled side during injury time. His shot was pushed into substitute Mateo Kovacic’s path and he then calmly applied the finish into an open net.