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

21 Jun 2018, 11:51 IST

#3 Ivan Rakitic

Croatia v Nigeria: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Rakitic has been asked on how to stop Messi

Rakitic has struck up a good partnership together with Modric. The Barcelona man knows that his side needs to be wary of Messi and in recent games, Rakitic has taken on the role of a defensive midfielder.

Should Croatia plot to stop Argentine's attack, the 30-year-old would have a key role in stopping La Albiceleste right at the heart of the pitch.

Passing is one of Rakitic's biggest assets and the player has the ability to score directly from a free-kick. It will not be surprising if the game is actually a battle between him and his Barcelona team-mate.

The winner could then decide the result of the fixture. Both of them know each other far too well and they have huge responsibilities to bear in this game.

Together with Modric, the duo will hope to form a midfield axis, allowing their side to quickly transition from attack to defence and vice versa. Even the Nigeria football team's coach, Gernot Rohr had been impressed with their skills.

Croatia is certainly not the best team in the world, but they have got one of the best midfield pairings in the competition. Rakitic and Modric largely play in the same position, they are aware of their own strengths and weakness. This enables them to adapt and provide support for each other.

It could be another night of Rakitic running the show and he could change the game once he steps up.

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