Barcelona and Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic said Wednesday that Argentina were the favorites to win the World Cup despite drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their first game of the tournament.
Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 in their first game of the competition and will face Argentina on Thursday.
"The result of the first match doesn't change the picture a lot, they [Argentina] remain favorites to win the tournament and favorites from our group. We understand that for both teams this will be a decisive match. They will complicate our lives as much as possible, but it won't be easier for them than in the match with the Iceland. I'm sure that if we try as hard as in the first match, we will get a positive result," Rakitic told journalists.
Rakitic plays for Barcelona together with Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who failed to convert a penalty against Iceland.
"Lionel had a lot of opportunities to score in the first game, but he didn't manage to do so. But that does not mean that he won't score this time, we need to be very careful with him. It's hard to tell my teammates something new about Messi, as he is an outstanding player. For me, Messi is the best player in the world. The most important thing is to stop him, but it will be difficult," the midfielder said.