3 things Argentina got wrong in the 3-0 loss to Croatia
In an appalling display, Argentina bowed out against Croatia in the most ridiculous manner to pour more cold water on their World Cup dreams. Argentinians often reduced themselves to looking like schoolboys getting ragged at a keg party and Croatia made most of their opponents' shortcomings as they made sure their win was replete with goals.
Croatia looked the better side and the first goal was coming for quite a while. Then a ridiculous error by Willy Caballero gifted the Croats the lead. Then Luka Modric scored an absolute scorcher from 30 yards out to settle the nerves.
Subsequently, Rakitic and Kovacic tore the Argentinian defence with the most basic, unhurried counterattack to put the icing on the cake. Argentina were outplayed in every department and will need to pull more than one rabbit out of the hat to stay in this tournament.
Without further ado, let's take a look at 3 things that Jorge Sampaoli's men got wrong in their humiliating defeat to Croatia.
#3 The change in shape exposed the wings
Shifting to a 3-4-3 looked like a wise decision for the first 10 minutes when Argentina looked like they stepped out on to the ground with a spring in their step. But soon enough, Croatia were bombing down the flanks with Vrsaljko, Rebic, Strinic, Perisic and even the midfield duo of Rakitic and Modric enjoyed some freedom on the wings.
In addition to that, Tagliafico and Mercado struggled to provide cover at the back on either side of Otamendi who was nowhere near his best.
Most of Croatia's attacks, though architected through the centre, manifested via the wings and if Mandzukic or Rebic had latched onto the opportunities that were served on a platter in the first half, the game would have ended much earlier.
Argentina's inability to adapt and evident lack of flexibility ended up making them look like an average team that should have no say in a tournament as big as the World Cup.
It is an upset of sorts but Croatia are easily the better team right now. Argentina's identity as one of football's powerhouses is, now more than ever, in question.