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World Cup 2018: Top 5 group stage matches to look forward to

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Top 5 / Top 10
4.27K   //    14 Jun 2018, 22:23 IST

The com
The competition for the Ballon d'Or is as close as ever

The wait for the 2018 Fifa World Cup is over, the teams have arrived and we're only hours away from the first match of this summer's highly-anticipated tournament. The groups are pretty interesting. The group of death comprises of Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria and Croatia. It will be surprisingly curious to see who makes it out of that group. Brazil are being touted as favourites for the cup. But it's the World Cup, as unpredictable as ever. Spain will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing World Cup last time around.

It remains to be seen if the current French side can fulfil their high potential. Germany, the defending champions have been as consistent as ever. The legend of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will continue. There's so much to look forward to in Russia this year. There are some highly anticipated matchups this summer. Here's a look at 5 of the best matches set to take place during the group stages:


#5 Argentina vs Croatia (Group D)

The
Kovacic and Messi vying for the ball during their last matchup

Date: 21st June 2018

Venue: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod

Head-to-head:

Games played: 4

Argentina wins: 2

Croatia wins: 1

Drawn: 1

Most recently, in 2014, these 2 sides played a friendly which Argentina won 2-1 thanks to a Leo Messi penalty in the second half.

Preview:

Both sides have similar records coming into the tournament with 2 wins and 2 losses in their last 4 games.

Argentina qualified for the World Cup with a last-gasp effort, earning a 3-1 win over Ecuador, courtesy of a brilliant hat-trick from talisman Lionel Messi. Similarly, Croatia booked their place in Russia with a 4-1 qualification playoff victory over Greece.

Argentina will be depending on their star-studded attacking lineup to provide impetus to the team whereas Croatia will look up to their experienced and creative midfield trio of Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic.

Key players:

Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic (Croatia)

Lionel Messi, Nicolas Otamendi, Di Maria (Argentina)

Possible lineups:

Argentina(4-2-3-1/4-4-2): Caballero, Mercado, Otamendi, Fazio, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Biglia/Banega, Di Maria, Pavon/Dybala, Messi, Higuain/Aguero

Croatia(4-2-3-1): Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Corluka, Vida, Badelj, Rakitic, Modric, Perisic, Rebic, Mandzukic/Kramaric

Prediction: Argentina 3-2 Croatia

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