Croatia displayed a scintillating performance to book a place in the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia courtesy of a remarkable 3-0 win over Argentina in Group D at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

In a high-intensity encounter, an excellent Croatia dismantled a rather shoddy Argentina courtesy superb performances from Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

Argentina stopper Willy Caballero produced a goalkeeping howler in the second half to leave Ante Rebic with the chance to volley his side into the lead with a memorable strike, before Luka Modric went one better with a standout finish from range to leave Croatia in the driving seat.

Croatia’s midfield had Messi on lockdown as the world star still struggles to find his first goal of the tournament.

A standout night for Zlatko Dalic ‘s charges was capped off during injury time, when Ivan Rakitic poked home a rebound to cement all three points and send Croatia into the second round with a game to spare.

Defeat for Jorge Sampaoli’s men now sees Argentina facing the possibility of exiting the tournament without getting out of the group stages should results go against them.

A win by Iceland over Nigeria on Friday and a convenient draw between Croatia and Iceland in their final game would see Argentina eliminated.

Mark F. / silveronline24 / SilverFM

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