By Paul Giblin
MOSCOW, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Croatia defender Dejan Lovren had potentially bad news for Argentina when he spoke to the press on Sunday.
Despite two performances which have provoked widespread criticism, Argentina still have a lifeline in the 2018 World Cup finals and will qualify for the last 16 if Leo Messi and company can win their final Group D match against Nigeria and Croatia, who are already assured a place in the last 16, avoid defeat to Iceland in the other Group D match.
Speaking at the Croatia training camp outside of St Petersburg, Lovren made it clear that Croatia won't be thinking about Argentina when they face Iceland and if they have to rest key players that is what going to happen.
"I can really understand Argentina's worries and why they want us to play the strongest team for the next game," said the central defender.
"But we must also have think about the fact that we should not be playing the players who have yellow cards. That's also our concern we need to keep in mind," he commented.
There will be an amnesty for yellow cards after the quarter-finals in Russia, but not before and with key players such as strikers Mario Mandzukic and Ante Rebic both booked in the first two matches, along with right back Sime Vrsaljko and influential midfielder, Ivan Rakitic, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is unlikely to risk them picking up a further card which could see them miss out in the knockout rounds, while others such as 32-year-old Luka Modric, who scored such an impressive goal against Argentina, could also be rested.
"The head coach is the one who will make the final decision. All of our players are ready," said Lovren.