FIFA World Cup 2018: Here's how Argentina can still qualify for knockout stage despite disappointing loss against Croatia

Argentina are on the verge of an early exit at the World Cup. There's no need to rub your eyes in disbelief. That's how bad the two-time winners have been in this tournament so far.

Jorge Sampaoli's side hopes of progressing to the next round are hanging by a thread and the chances are now largely dependent on how Iceland perform in their remaining group stage matches.

The Argentinian squad during a training session in Russia. Reuters

The Argentina squad during a training session in Russia. Reuters

The table suggests that Croatia lead Group D with six points from two games, while Argentina have only managed one point from as many games. Iceland, after their draw with Argentina are also on one point. Nigeria, who are slated to lock horns with Iceland on 22 June, are yet to open their account.

The Lionel Messi-led Argentina already have one foot out of the World Cup.

On Wednesday, Croatia went all guns blazing after a timid first half to capitalise on Willy Caballero's mistakes in the second half. The Croats opened the scoring with Aten Rebic smashing in a half-volley from a mistimed pass by Argentinian goalkeeper Caballero. Luka Modric then sealed the game for Croatia with an 80th-minute stunner and Ivan Rakitic scored their third in the extra time of the Group D fixture.

However, Messi and Co could save themselves from early elimination provided if results turn in their favour.

Argentina can qualify to the last-16 if:

Iceland beat Nigeria

Iceland face Nigeria on Friday as the Super Eagles are yet to claim a single point, while Iceland have one. A win for Iceland will put pressure on Sampaoli's men as they will need a win over Nigeria in their final group stage match on Tuesday. Moreover, if Iceland lose their match against Croatia, the La Albiceste will go through on the basis of better goal difference.

What if Iceland and Nigeria draw?

In this case, Argentina will need to beat Nigeria and hope that Iceland don't beat Croatia in their final game.

And what if Nigeria beat Iceland?

In this case, Argentina should beat Nigeria. If Iceland win their match against Croatia, Argentina will go through only if they have a better goal difference than Iceland.

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Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 20:06:51 IST

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