Argentina defender Gabriel Mercado admitted his team’s World Cup hopes will be on the line in Thursday’s second group game against Croatia.
Lionel Messi missed a penalty as Argentina were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by tournament debutants Iceland in their Group D opener at the weekend.Croatia lead the group after a 2-0 victory over Nigeria and would seal their place in the knockout stages with a win against Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod.
“The reality is that this game is crucial for us, knowing we weren’t able to get the three points the other day,” said Mercado.
“This is a vital game. We need to win to go ahead of them.”
“They’re a difficult team, very dangerous. We already knew that when the draw was made. I imagine it will be a tough game, hard fought and we’ll try to take control. I think it’s going to be a very even match.”