Thursday, June 21, 2018

World Cup 2018: Rakitic ready to rumble with Messi in Croatia v Argentina

SoccerNews in World Cup 1 Dec 2017


Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is relishing a World Cup showdown with Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.

Messi and Argentina were placed alongside Croatia, Nigeria and tournament debutants Iceland in a tough-looking Group D at Friday’s draw in Moscow.

Argentina were beaten finalists when Germany triumphed at Brazil 2014, but they needed heroics from Messi, who scored a hat-trick in their final qualifier against Ecuador, to get to the finals this time around.

Rakitic is part of a celebrated Croatia generation who are likely to have their final collective shot at a major tournament in Russia.

“It’s a tough group, it will be big fight,” the 29-year-old told 24 sata.

“I believe we have the quality to go through. I am glad to play against my friends Messi and Mascherano.

“It is a World Cup and we have to face the best. I can’t wait for the World Cup, especially against Argentina.

“Respect towards Argentina and Messi but it makes our motivation even bigger.”

Rakitic’s national coach Zlatko Dalic unsurprisingly took a more pragmatic view and conceded he would rather not be making plans for Messi.

“It could have been better and could have been worse,” Dalic told HTV.

“Nigeria has a young team, very fast. I wanted to avoid those two or three best teams [like Argentina] but we have nothing to lose. They are favourites.”

Iceland and Croatia were paired together in qualification, claiming a win apiece, and Dalic added: “Iceland, we know them well. I spoke to their coach [Heimir Hallgrimsson] and he said, ‘Oh no, not you again’.”


SoccerNews is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.



Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
More More