NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, Classy Croatia handed Argentina a 3-0 drubbing to claim a place in the World Cup knockout stage thanks to goals by Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in their Group D match on Thursday.
Rebic seized on a gaffe by keeper Willy Caballero to open the way to victory for the Balkan side before a superb strike from outside the area by captain Modric 10 minutes from time with Rakitic putting the icing on the cake in added time.
Twice champions Argentina face a struggle to reach the last 16 even with Lionel Messi in their ranks after taking one point from their first two games. Croatia top the group with six.
Argentina’s woes began when Caballero picked up a backpass and inexplicably lobbed it towards Rebic, who twisted in the air to whack in a volley in the 53rd minute.