Lionel Messi will be determined to put his disappointing performance against Iceland behind him when Argentina take on Croatia on Thursday.
The Barcelona star failed to find the net despite having 11 shots on goal in Moscow, seeing his second-half penalty saved by Hannes Halldorson as La Albiceleste were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw.
However, having scored his first ever international goal against this opposition, he is ’s 10/3 (4.33) favourite to open the scoring in Nizhny Novgorod.
Messi to make amends
In fact, the captain has been on target in both of his previous appearances against the Vatreni, and looks generously priced at 11/10 (2.10) to maintain that 100 per cent record here.
Messi was actually overshadowed by Sergio Aguero, who is available at 7/4 (2.75) to strike anytime for the second game in succession.
Gonzalo Higuain 7/4 (2.75) was restricted to a late substitute appearance against Iceland, while Paulo Dybala 11/5 (3.20) will just be pleased to get on the pitch after spending the entire 90 minutes on the bench.
Zlatko Dalic’s side benefitted from an own goal and a converted penalty in their rather drab opener against Nigeria, but will be hoping for more from their attacking players in this one.
Croats to find the net?
Despite scoring just once in his last 12 international appearances, Mario Mandzukic is his team’s 15/2 (8.50) favourite to break the deadlock, and 11/4 (3.75) to strike anytime.
With four goals to his name in the previous 10 internationals, Andrej Kramaric probably offers better value at 3/1 (4.00) against an opposition defence that did not look convincing last time out.
However, Croatia’s greatest strength surely lies in midfield, where Ivan Perisic represents a tempting 15/4 (5.75) outside bet to add to his impressive 18-goal international haul.
Having despatched the clinching penalty against Nigeria, Luka Modric is available at 11/2 (6.50) to come to the fore yet again in this one.
Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
Messi to score anytime at 11/10 (2.10) for a 2pt stake with