The country’s pain after La Albiceleste’s 3-0 loss to Croatia percolated through its newspapers and sports magazines

It never looked certain for Argentina. There were always questions left to answer but obscured by the euphoria, anxiety and demands of their country. Something felt off. Drawing with Iceland, a moral loss, showed the team’s unease, but pundits pardoned a team that faced a fully parked bus.

Croatia would be the real test. The quiet might of their midfield, featuring Real Madrid’s conductor and lead architect, Luka Modric, promised a game of back and forths where Argentina would prosper by taking advantage of gaps. Argentinian media listened to Modric who, outlining his tactics, said Croatia would cut off Javier Mascherano and added one sharp line: “Messi can’t do it all.” Did Sampaoli listen?

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