It’s safe to say that Messi isn’t exactly having the best time proceeding to Argentina’s second match of the World Cup.
After single-handedly losing Argentina’s chances to go through their game against Iceland with 3 points, it’s not a surprise that Messi has a lot of things on his mind at the moment.
If Argentina don’t win this game against Croatia there is a chance they might not advance through the group stages.
In their game coming up against Croatia, Argentina are going to have to play to their utmost best to make sure they secure the 3 points from them if they want the best chance to advance.
With players such as Rakitic and Modric, it’s easy to say that Croatia will dominate the midfield, creating multiple dangerous chances that could cost Argentina their spot in the round of 16.
What to expect from Messi in his next game
We can obviously see Messi very concentrated and ready to play at peak performance.
After he missed the penalty, Messi has been detached from everything and only focusing on himself and what he needs to do to secure Argentina’s chances of going through.
We’ve seen the same thing happen after Argentina drew to Paraguay after conceding a 90th minute goal in the 2015 Copa America.
Overall, we should never underestimate Lionel as he has surprised the world with his skills and footballing ability.
With Messi playing in a centre-attacking-midfielder role, this opens up players like Aguero and Di Maria to run down the wings and create space for Messi to roam freely in the middle of the pitch.
Like this, Argentina is maxing out how much Messi can roam around the pitch and work his magic.
In Argentina’s game against Ecuador in the first round of the World Cup Qualifiers, Argentina were losing 1-0 within the first minute.
However, Messi stepped up and made the game his own, scoring 2 goals within the next 20 minutes, then finally scoring his hat trick in the 62nd minute.
This shows that when Messi needs to step up and save his country, he will bring you results.
This is why we believe Messi has spent the last few days concentrating on being the best player he can be for Argentina.
What does Messi’s mistake look like for his rivalry against Ronaldo?
Right now, Messi isn’t looking the best compared to the Portuguese forward.
This is because Ronaldo has been playing really well for his country, a very close game that ended with Ronaldo scoring in the 88th minute to equalize the game 3-3.
Ronaldo also scored against Morocco in the first 5 minutes to secure them the 3 points going through to the 3rd game of the group stage.
Because of his hat-trick against Spain, he has now become the oldest player in football history to score a hat-trick in the World Cup.
Because of everything Ronaldo has done in the past 2 games, Messi has a lot to redeem if he wants the media and all Argentina fans to believe in his being able to carry Argentina through to the round of 16.
Expected Lineups And Betting Odds
This is what I can imagine Argentina’s lineup to look like going into their game against Croatia:
In the goalkeeping position we could expect the normal pick of Chelsea goalkeeper, Willy Caballero.
The back 4 could contain Tagliafico, Otamendi, Fazio and Mercado.
The 3 midfielders that are expected to start are Biglia, Lo celso and Banega.
And in the attacking 3, we could easily expect to see Messi, Aguero and either Pavon or Dybala to start.
Croatia will most probably be going with the same team they used against Nigeria. This consisted of,
Subasic in the goalkeeping position.
The back 4 consisting of, Lovren, Vida, Vrsaljko and Strinic.
Since they run a 5 midfielder formation, they will have 2 defensive and 3 attacking. The 2 defensive midfielders will consist of Modric and Rakitic while the 3 attacking midfielders will consist of Perisic, Kramaric and Rebic.
In the striker position, we have Juventus forward, Mandzukic. However, it could have been different as AC Milan striker, Nikola Kalinic faked being injured so he wouldn’t have to play against Nigeria in Croatia’s first game of the World Cup.
The odds for this game are:
1.90 for Argentina to win
3.40 for a draw
4.20 for Croatia to win