Croatia batters Messi's Argentina 3-0 to enter World Cup last 16

Updated: 2018-06-22 07:39
Lionel Messi (L) of Argentina vies with Luka Modric of Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D match between Argentina and Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, June 21, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia - Lionel Messi's frustrating international career may be coming to an early and anti-climactic finish after Argentina's worst loss in World Cup group play in 60 years.

With Diego Maradona watching from the stands, the 2014 runners-up were routed by Croatia 3-0 Thursday. The Croats are moving on to the round of 16.

Messi got off only one shot in a defeat that pushed Argentina to the brink of elimination. Messi, who turns 31 on Sunday, has never won a major title with Argentina's senior national team despite of decade of championships with Barcelona and five player of the year awards.

"He is our captain, he leads the team and we quite simply couldn't pass to him," Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said. "We work to give Leo the ball, but the opponent also works hard to prevent him from getting the ball."

Messi also missed a penalty kick in his team's opening 1-1 draw against Iceland.

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