Argentina vs Croatia team news: Di Maria, Rojo and Biglia dropped as Messi faces Modric

Angel Di Maria Argentina
The trio are replaced by Acuna, Mercado and Enzo Perez in a radical shift from the side that failed to ignite in a 1-1 stalemate against Iceland

Marcos Rojo, Lucas Biglia and Angel Di Maria have all been dropped for Argentina as the Albiceleste look to get their World Cup campaign on track against Croatia

The trio miss out after a disappointing start to Group D on Saturday, when Lionel Messi missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Iceland

Coach Jorge Sampaoli has reacted with a radical shift in strategy, opting for a 3-4-2-1 line-up after starting the competition in 4-2-3-1. 

Rojo is replaced by Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado, who enters on the right side of a three-man defence completed by Nicolas Otamendi and Nicolas Tagliafico. 

Marcos Acuna of Sporting is the man chosen to start ahead of Di Maria on the left wing, while River Plate's Enzo Perez, who was a late call-up for the injured Manuel Lanzini, replaces Biglia alongside Javier Mascherano. 

Prior to the match Sampaoli's big doubt had been whether to start Boca Juniors' Cristian Pavon, who entered for Di Maria on Saturday, or keep faith with Independiente winger Maxi Meza. 

Ultimately, however, Meza gets the nod ahead of his Superliga rival, and will play alongside Messi in a double creative unit behind lone striker and Argentina's only goalscorer so far at Russia 2018, Sergio Aguero.

Croatia star Luka Modric, however, goes head-to-head with his great Barcelona rival in an advanced role just behind solitary centre-forward Mario Mandzukic. 

Messi's Barca team-mate Ivan Rakitic also starts against Argentina, as does Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren in a team with just one change from the side that downed Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday. 

Article continues below

Andrej Kramaric makes way for Marcelo Brozovic, while Croatia are also down to 22 players in their squad after Niko Kalinic was sent home.

Argentina: Caballero; Mercado, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Salvio, Mascherano, Perez, Acuna; Messi, Meza; Aguero. 

Croatia: Subasic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinic; Rebic, Rakitic, Brozovic, Perisic; Modric; Mandzukic.