Will Lionel Messi's World Cup dream come to an end tonight?

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren

Most of the trains heading from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday night and Thursday morning are likely to carry Argentine fans in droves going to see their team in a crucial match against Croatia.

A defeat against the Luka Modric-led Croatians in Nizhny Novgorod could see Argentina, unthinkably, flirting with a first exit at the group stage since 2002.

Argentina's brilliant forward and captain Lionel Messi would love to make amends in their World Cup Group D match after missing a penalty in the previous match.

"We took stock of what was done well or not so well and all agree that we will have to increase our physical intensity and improve our attitude in general", said vice-captain and central defender Raphael Varane.

The best rumination would be for Croatia to also beat Argentina so that Lionel Messi and his Argentina side become desperate in their last game - this is believing the Eagles can melt Iceland's defence while freezing out their attack.

With their strongest squad for years and in pole position in the group, Croatia dream of rivalling the glories of 1998, when they reached the World Cup semi-finals and finished third after a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the playoff.

When is FIFA World Cup 2018 Argentina vs Croatia football match?

"I didn't say that Argentina was the easiest opponent".

"We hope we've hit the nail on the head in the last few days so Leo can use the quality he has and if he can't express himself hopefully the other players can".

The pressure is on Argentina - this is a tough game. It's hard to tell my teammates something new about Messi, as he is an outstanding player.

But Croatia has fabulous individuals on its team, too, specifically the midfield pairing of Rakitic and Real Madrid's Luka Modric.

"The most important thing is to stop him, but it will be hard", the midfielder said. Rakitic said. "The world knows".

In stark contrast, Ronaldo, who last month won his fifth Champions League winner's medal, now has four goals in Russian Federation and looks a shoo-in to win his sixth world player of the year award. It is up to us to stop him, to play the right way against him, and to enjoy the match and play our best.

The team's build-up to the game against Argentina has been marred by the departure of forward Nikola Kalinic after the player refused to come on as a substitute against Nigeria owing to what he claimed was an issue with his back. "We are especially motivated".

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