They travelled half the world to cheer for the national football team but Argentine supporters hardly ever imagined that their heroes would stare at a FIFA World Cup 2018 exit after just two league matches. And yet, that is exactly what it has come down to.
Argentina crashed to a shocking 0-3 defeat to Croatia on Thursday night at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Russia. Ante Rebic scored. Luka Modric scored. Ivan Rakitic scored. None of the Argentine players scored. Not even Lionel Messi. And fans are absolutely devastated.
With a 1-1 draw against lowly Iceland in the Group D opener and a loss now against Croatia, fate of Argentina this World Cup now depends on how Nigeria fares in its remaining two matches in the league stage. Leaving the matter of qualification to the next round to another team has left Argentine fans outraged and many were seen spitting towards the field after the match against the Croatians ended. Many of them had tears in their eyes.
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) June 21, 2018
— Annibale Micheli (@AnnibaleMicheli) June 21, 2018
— Azmoon Ahmed ???? (@azmoon_ahmed) June 21, 2018
There is no denying that Croatia showcased exemplary football skills to bring down traditional giants Argentina. That Argentina could hardly mount a counter-offensive though is what most fans are lamenting about. It is what has also prompted former Argentine football heroes to question if this indeed is the worst national team appearing in a World Cup. "They (Argentine players) were so predictable, they didn’t create anything, they made so many mistakes, they looked so frustrated just kicking people around at the end," Pablo Zabaleta said during a post-match analysis for BBC. "It’s really tough for the Argentine people. I can’t remember a worse performance from us at a World Cup."
That the Argentina team has some of the biggest names in world football like Messi, Sergio Aguero and Willy Caballero has hardly helped the performance on the field. The team will next face Nigeria on Tuesday (June 26).