In Brief

World Cup group D: Argentina vs. Croatia team news, kick-off time and TV channel

Lionel Messi and Argentina face group leaders Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod

Argentina vs. Croatia
  • When: Thursday 21 June 
  • Kick-off time: 7pm 
  • Where: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod 
  • TV channel: live on BBC One

After being held 1-1 by World Cup debutants Iceland in their first game, the pressure will be on Argentina to get a result against Croatia in group D.

Sergio Aguero scored against Iceland but star player Lionel Messi then missed a penalty, so Messi and his Argentina teammates will be looking to “finally join the party” in Russia, says The Sun

The BBC reports that Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli could change his formation for the clash against the group D leaders. Sampaoli chose a 4-2-3-1 formation against Iceland but could revert to a 3-4-3. 

Boca Juniors winger Cristian Pavon is in line for his first competitive start and Gabriel Mercado and Marcos Acuna could also be recalled.

Croatia will be without Nikola Kalinic for the rest of the World Cup after the striker refused to come on as a substitute during the 2-0 win against Nigeria. Kalinic was sent home by Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.

Fifa.com reporter Vjekoslav Paun believes Dalic will make changes for the Argentina clash. Paun writes: “After deploying four midfielders against the Nigerians, he is considering whether to field fewer against the Argentinians or to put the emphasis on keeping possession by sending out more creative players.

“The ‘Vatreni’ are unlikely, however, to adopt the same defensive strategy pursued by Iceland. Time will tell what approach Dalic decides to take.”

Nigeria take on Iceland in the other group D match on 22 June.

Argentina vs. Croatia predicted starting XIs

How the teams could line up at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, according to Fifa.com:

  • Argentina (3-4-3): Willy Caballero; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Eduardo Salvio, Javier Mascherano, Maximiliano Meza, Marcos Acuna; Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Cristian Pavon 
  • Croatia (4-2-3-1): Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic; Ivan Rakitic, Milan Badelj; Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic​
Group D results, fixtures and live TV channels
  • Argentina 1 Iceland 1
  • Croatia 2 Nigeria 0
  • 21 June: Argentina vs. Croatia (7pm, BBC) 
  • 22 June: Nigeria vs. Iceland (4pm, BBC) 
  • 26 June: Iceland vs. Croatia (7pm, BBC); Argentina vs. Nigeria (7pm, BBC)

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