Jose Mourinho has predicted a tough challenge for Argentina and Lionel Messi in the World Cup Group D showdown against a Croatia team boasting a midfield that is among “the best in the world.”
The pair meet at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Thursday in a crunch game, with Argentina heading into the match on the back of a disappointing 1-1 opening game draw against Iceland in which captain Messi missed a second-half penalty.
The Croatians opened their campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over Nigeria, and Manchester United boss Mourinho says the midfield in particular will be a danger for the Argentinians.
“Croatia is a team with some talented, experienced players that play in the best clubs in the world,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t think in the past years they had enough evolution for the next generation, but they have still a group of players, especially in midfield, players of the best we have in the world,” he added.
“Argentina is Argentina, but I think Croatia has a team that is capable to give them a difficult match.”
Messi has seen Portuguese rival Cristiano Ronaldo set the competition alight after his hat-trick against Spain and winning goal against Morocco in Moscow on Wednesday. If Messi is going to break his Russia World Cup duck, today would be a good day to start.