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VIDEO: Caballero calamity sets Croatia on their way against Messi and Argentina

7:50 AM MYT 22/06/2018
Willy Caballero Argentina Croatia World Cup 2018
The goalkeeper delivered an errant pass that fell right to Ante Rebic, which was the beginning of the end for the Albiceleste

It was a night to forget for Willy Caballero.

The Argentina goalkeeper made one memorable mistake in Croatia’s shock 3-0 win over the Albiceleste, but it was a calamitous one that sent his side tumbling toward historic defeat.

The last four weeks of unforgettable goalkeeper errors on the big stage, from Loris Karius in the Champions League final, to David de Gea in Spain’s opening World Cup game against Portugal, continued with Caballero in the second match of Argentina’s Group D slate.

It looked innocuous enough in the 53rd minute of the scoreless contest, as Argentina defender Gabriel Mercado just laid it back to Caballero. The goalkeeper, under pressure from Ante Rebic, seemed to try to chip the ball over the Croatian player, to get it back to Mercado.

But Caballero mis-hit the pass, and it just floated a few yards forward, well short of Mercado and toward the waiting Rebic.

Credit to Rebic, who, unlike Caballero, put his foot through it, hitting a rocket on the volley that put Croatia up 1-0 and opened the floodgates on Argentina.

It was a just reward for a Croatia side that had stymied Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, limiting them to the fewest touches of any of the Argentina players in the first half.

Argentina was made to rue squandered chances to that point, especially Enzo Perez missing a near-open net wide 30 minutes into the contest.

While Rebic goal was fortunate thanks to Caballero’s error, his skill on the finish was quality. And he would be outdone by Luka Modric later in the second half.

In the 80th minute, Modric got some space outside the area, about 25 yards from goal. He managed create enough room against Nicolas Otamendi to unleash a rocket from distance.

Caballero dove to his left, but was not at fault this time as Modric’s pin-point blast rippled the back of the net to all but end Argentina’s hopes of getting something from the game.

Things only got worse from there for Argentina, as in stoppage time, Croatia would net a third.

Ivan Rakitic decided to have a go from the edge of the area in the 91st minute. His low drive was parried away by Caballero, but Argentina’s players, Messi included, just stood and watch as Mateo Kovacic pounced on the rebound.

Only Marco Acuna tracked Rakitic, and when Caballero went to cut down the angle on Kovacic, the Real Madrid man squared it to the Barcelona midfielder, who slotted it home for Croatia’s third.

That goal ensured Argentina would suffer it’s worst first-round group stage defeat in 60 years and puts Messi and his team-mates in need of a victory against Nigeria in the final group stage game, plus favorable results in the other contests, to have a chance to advance.