Just when you thought Argentina’s World Cup campaign couldn’t reach a new low, it did on Thursday.
Willy Caballero’s catastrophic howler paired with a lack of scoring chances doomed the Albiceleste in its 3-0 loss to Croatia.
The Argentinian goalkeeper tried to make an average clearance in the 53rd minute, but he scuffed his pass intended for a teammate and sent the ball to the boot of Ante Rebic.
Rebic used a terrific bit of skill to power his shot past Caballero and hand the Croatians the advantage they would never give up.
Luka Modric added to Argentina’s frustration in the 80th minute, as he struck a beautiful shot into the right side of the net after toying with Argentinian defenders on the edge of the box.
The whirlwind second half came after a first half that was mired by poor play and missed scoring opportunities on both ends. Ivan Perisic produced an early save out of Caballero, who dove and got his left hand on the fourth-minute attempt.
Within a span of three minutes, Enzo Perez and Mario Mandzukic failed to capitalize on quality chances. Perez rolled a shot wide of the net after an open goal was put in front of him, while Mandzukic’s diving header near the left post missed the net.
The second 45 minutes produced plenty of rough challenges, and got a bit chippy after Croatia struck for its pair of tallies.
Rakitic finished off the fantastic result for the European side, as he took advantage of an open net in the 90th minute to further destroy Argentina’s goal difference.
The win advanced Croatia into the round of 16, while Argentina needs to beat Nigeria and receive help from elsewhere to salvage its poor group stage.
Man of the Match
Luka Modric was a dominant force alongside Rakitic and Perisic in midfield, and he capped off his terrific night with his 80th-minute strike.
Moment of the Match
Caballero’s brutal blunder put Croatia in the lead, and his day didn’t get better as he was caught out of position on the other two goals he conceded.
Match to Forget
Caballero’s shortcomings were a perfect representation of how poor Argentina’s played over 180 minutes in Russia.