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World Cup 2018: 5 players who could decide the game as Argentina face Croatia

6.76K   //    21 Jun 2018, 11:51 IST

Dalic has started the ''Stop Messi'' project

In a press conference, Zlatko Dalić admitted that he would ask his players namely Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic how to stop Lionel Messi.

A win would see Croatia qualify for the Round of 16, a feat which they have not achieved since finishing 3rd in the 1998 France World Cup. On the previous occasion, The Blazers won just a single match and failed to advance.

As for Jorge Sampaoli's men, they were humbled by Iceland and managed to get away only with a point. This leaves them in a disadvantageous position, but not all hope is lost. It will be vital to see how his players respond to this match after the draw.

Given the strengths of his side, Sampaoli will surely choose to go all out and attack. Hopefully, Messi and his team can get an early goal in the game.

In the four times that both sides have met each other, Croatia lost twice and won just once. They last faced each other during an international friendly in 2014 and Croatia was beaten 2-1 by their opponents.

Histories aside, this World Cup has been filled with surprises and it could be anybody's game before the final whistle is blown. Here is a look at five players who could change the game.

#5 Cristian Pavon

Pavon is set to start the match

The 22-year-old right winger is expected to start against Croatia according to latest reports. He made his senior debut in November last year. Since then, he made six appearances in total and created two assists for his team.

In the previous match against Iceland, Pavon came on as a substitute for the last 15 minutes. However, he and his team were unable to break Iceland down and had to share a point with their opponents.


The Boca Juniors player made 31 appearances in all competitions last season, creating 17 assists in the process. As a result of his impressive performances, the youngster has attracted attention from Arsenal and Barcelona.

Pavon has an eye for making key passes and is capable of dribbling and holding onto the ball for a long time. The Argentine could replace his compatriot Angel di Maria on the pitch. Sampaoli is keen to utilize Pavon's pace and hopefully he can aid the forwards in the match.

All stats via whoscored and transfermarkt

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