The Super Eagles were beaten by the Croatians on Saturday, for their first game, in the 2018 World cup.
Croatia kicked off their World Cup with a 2-0 success against Nigeria. Luka Modric and his partners take the lead in Group D, ahead of Argentina and Iceland.
Little seen in the World Cup since being third in 1998, Croatia started the 2018 edition on Saturday night in Kaliningrad. Opposed to Nigeria, Zlatko Dalic’s men claimed their technical and tactical superiority to dominate the Super Eagles (2-0). Led by the Luka Modric-Ivan Rakitic duo in midfield, the Croatian selection was not necessarily brilliant but was able to ensure the essential and make the difference at the right time to secure a success net and smudge.
Strong in defense, the “Vatreni” (the “Flamboyants”) could also count on several offensive assets to make a difference, including their two Serie A strikers, Mario Mandzukic (Juve) and Ivan Perisic (Inter). The two friends were also behind the first dangerous action, but the second shot went slightly above the crossbar. The deliverance will take place shortly after the half-hour of play for Croatia. On a long corner, Mandzukic placed a diving header, deflected in his own goal by Oghenekaro Etebo (1-0, 32 ‘).
Gernot Rohr’s men were trying to impose a physical challenge on the Croats who were resisting and sheltering after an indisputable foul in the surface of William Ekong who hold Mandzukic. Captain Luka Modric scored the second goal through a penalty (2-0, 71st). This success allows the Croats to take the lead of group D. A leading position they will try to defend next Thursday during the match against Argentina. Hooked by Iceland (1-1), Albiceleste has almost no longer the right to make mistakes. For its part, Nigeria will try to be more incisive against the solid Icelandic.