Aguero leads the line again for Argentina v Croatia

Argentina 1
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22 June, 2018

Messi also missed a penalty kick in his team's opening 1-1 draw against Iceland.

"It is clear that Messi's legacy and standing within the game would be enhanced with victory in Russian Federation this summer, but he does not need to win the World Cup to be viewed as Maradona's equal", argued London-based sports writer Greg Lea in an article for The Sportsman. This time it seems they want to cash-in on the World Cup fever.

Croatia, which reached the 1998 World Cup semifinals but has not advanced past the group stage since then, will face Iceland on Tuesday in Rostov-on-Don.

Fortunately for Argentina, the squad will still have a chance to sneak into the knockout round, barring a massive rout in Friday's Iceland-Nigeria game - but Messi's team will have to play much better in its group stage finale than it has so far in Russian Federation.

After a contentious, but ultimately goal-less first half, the drama spiked in the 53rd minute when Croatia's Ante Rebic capitalized on Willy Caballero's goalkeeping error, one of the most spectacularly horrifying in recent World Cup memory.

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Argentina had most possession but failed to finish off their attacks and looked vulnerable in defence, with Lionel Messi struggling to impose himself on the game.

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"The defeat is my responsibility because I am the coach", he said.

And throughout it all Messi, arguably the world's best player, remained a peripheral and largely ponderous figure, briefly flashing to life on too few occasions.

The defeat to France mean the Socceroos need a win against Christian Eriksen's Denmark in Samara. But everything positive Argentina did still came from Messi, and it was the same against Croatia, albeit he wasn't as centrally involved.

The Albiceleste stand on the brink of early elimination from the tournament after gaining just one point from their first two matches.

"I think the tournament is over for him", said van Marwijk.

Blatter has arrived in Moscow to attend matches at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin despite being banned from the game for alleged corruption during his 17 years at the head of world football.

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