NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, June 19 (Reuters) - Argentina play Croatia in a World Cup Group D match in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.
Where: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
When: Thursday June 21, 2100 local (1800 GMT/1400 ET)
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan
* Argentina began their World Cup with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Iceland that included a missed penalty by Lionel Messi. Croatia comfortably beat Nigeria 2-0.
* This could be Messi’s last World Cup given he is now into his 30s.
* Croatia have sent home striker Nikola Kalinic after he refused to come on as a substitute in the opening game.
* Winners in 1978 and 1986, Argentina have qualified for 11 consecutive World Cups. They last picked up major silverware at the 1993 Copa America.
* Despite the individual renown of their attackers, Argentina managed just 19 goals in the South American qualifiers, the lowest by a qualifying team since the single-group format was adopted ahead of the 1998 finals.
* Croatia have qualified for five out of six World Cup tournaments as an independent nation since they broke away from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, having missed out only on the 2010 event in South Africa.
* Their best result came in 1998, when they reached the semi-finals and finished third after a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the playoff.
Previous meetings: The two sides have met four times, with two wins for Argentina, one for Croatia and one draw. They last played in a 2014 friendly that Argentina won 2-1. (Writing by Andrew Cawthorne, editing by Ed Osmond)