Croatia team news as Ivan Rakitic says Croatia’s Group D is the toughest test.
Watch Crotia’s Group D game against Argentina here
Speaking to Marca, Rakitic feels Croatia can go the distance but the group D fixtures are the most challenging; “I think we’ve been the strongest group of all.” Up against Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland, it’s probably the most fiercely contested group for the two qualifying spots.
Croatia were one of the top teams in Euro 2016 losing out to eventual winners Portugal. The Barca midfielder commented on the impressiveness of the current squad including, Modric (Real Madrid) and Perisic (Inter Milan) to look out for; “Croatia has never had so many players in so many important teams, playing and setting the pace.”
Watching Argentina’s flair over the years it would seem they have a guaranteed top spot. This may not be so certain with Nigeria recently beating them in a friendly after a brace from Alex Iwobi.
“If we get out of our group anything is possible” Rakitic says. Which is definitely true – part of the beauty of the World Cup is being sat with a pint, feeling the change in atmosphere with your friends and family when teams break the mould and do the unexpected.
Rakitic and his Barcelona team-mate Messi are looking forward to meeting as Croatia v Argentina (21st June 2018 – 7pm GMT, Nizhny Novograd Stadium, Nizhny Novograd). The knowledge that Rakitic has of Messi may prove to be an advantage when it comes to taming the 5 time Ballon D’or winner when they meet. But jokingly Rakitic comments: “I don’t think he gets nervous if I say “watch Croatia!”. It’s the World Cup, you want to play against the best. And if it is against the best of all time, well so much the better. That’s what a World Cup is for.”
Croatia will also make history this year, facing Nigeria for the first time in group D (Saturday 16th June – 8pm GMT Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad) which will prove to be an exciting game with two teams that are capable of beating more renowned national teams.
We think Group D will be one of the most entertaining watches, who do you think will make it through? Whatever you think there’s a great pub or bar to be right in the middle of the action and see it all play out.
CTA to our sites and where to watch?