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Croatia vs Nigeria

2018 FIFA World Cup, Group D

Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
Croatia Nigeria
2 SCORE 0
12 Shots 14
6 Corners 5
2 Yellow Cars 1
0 Red Cards 0

Match result:

Croatia have taken advantage of a surprising slip up by Argentina to sit atop World Cup Group D thanks to an own goal and a penalty, beating Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo the unlucky Nigerian scoring the own goal to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark at the Kaliningrad Stadium.

Croatia were not troubled in large by the Nigerians, despite the Nigerians having more shots on goal, and when William Troost-Ekong was whistled for grabbing and impeding Mandzukic while defending a corner, Luka Modric converted the penalty to extend Croatia’s lead to 2-nil.

While Nigeria forced some saves from the Croatian keeper, but the three points were wrapped up somewhat easily.

Final score
Croatia 2
Nigeria 0

Match preview:

We come to match No.8 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as perennial participants Croatia and Nigeria meet in this Group D clash. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 5am (AEST).

There is a lot to like about Group D in this World Cup that, aside from the Messi-led Argentina, is a relatively open group.

For Croatia and nigeria, it is a rematch of their 2014 World Cup matchup in Brazil, which the Croatians won comfortably.

Croatia ultimately went the lengthy route in qualifying for Russia, having finished second in their group.

However, having been grouped with Belgium, replete with their golden generation, Croatia’s loss to Belgium was the only defeat they suffered, and ultimately the Croatians had little trouble knocking over Greece in the second round to qualify for this tournament.

Croatia have brought a high calibre squad to Russia, with the likes of hardened European competitors in Dejan Lovren, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, and Mario Mandzukic.

The big name, however, is one Luka Modric, fresh off a commanding season for Real Madrid, and that little matter of a third consecutive Champions League winners’ medal.

As for Nigeria, the Super Eagles? Well, they will undoubtedly like their chances, having themselves successfully navigated their path to Russia via a tricky route that included Cameroon.

It is actually easy to forget that Nigeria have a rich history at the world cup, and were it not for some Baggio magic back in 1994, they would have found themselves in a quarter final against a fragile Spain, and anything could have happened.

The African nation themselves bring a fairly high calibre of player, with Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, John Obi Mikel.

Iwobi is something of an enigma, as he is a polarising (at best) individual with his club sides Arsenal’s fans, but put that green Nigerian jersey on, and he turns into African Messi.

Nigeria are also coming off a solid pre-tournament warm up, having pushed England all the way at Wembley, so the occasion certainly shouldn’t get the better of these super eagles.

Prediction
I was originally going to tip a draw between these sides, but upon further reflection, the quality of Croatia really should be too much for the Nigerians.

Despite the passion and skill that Nigeria will present, the Europeans should have the experience to get the job done here.

Croatia 2 – Nigeria 1.

Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this Group D match from 5am (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.

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The Crowd Says (2)

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  • Roar Guru

    7:24am
    Karlo Tychsen said | 7:24am | ! Report

    Full Time
    Croatia sit atop World Cup Group D after an own goal and a penalty has seen them take out victory against Nigeria 2-0 in each country’s opening group D match.

    Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo was the unlucky Nigerian who scored an own goal to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark at the Kaliningrad Stadium.

    Croatia were not troubled in large by the Nigerians, despite the Nigerians having more shots on goal, and when William Troost-Ekong was whistled for grabbing and impeding Mandzukic while defending a corner, Luka Modric converted the penalty to extend Croatia’s lead to 2-nil.

    While Nigeria forced some saves from the Croatian keeper, the three points were wrapped up somewhat easily by the Europeans.

    Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo was credited with the own goal for the opening goal of the affair, as Croatia broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark at the Kaliningrad Stadium.

    Juventus star Mario Mandzukic’s header took a deflection off the Nigerian midfielder and crept into the goal. Despite it only being an own goal, it was very much a deserved lead to Croatia, who dominated the count of chances and possession held in the first half.

    Nigeria offered little more after the break and conceding a disappointing penalty when William Troost-Ekong was penalised for grabbing and fouling Mandzukic while defending a corner.

    Luka Modric converted from the spot extending Croatia’s lead.

    But they didn’t have to do much more against a Nigerian side that barely huffed, and did not puff, putting little concern on blowing anything down.

    Nigeria made mass changes in the second half, as they brought on Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho and Simeon Nwankwo off the bench. While the Africans managed a seemingly impressive 14 shots on goal, they only made the Croatian keeper Danijel Subasic make two real saves.

    As such, Croatia have given themselves the perfect opening and an excellent chance to move through to the knockout stages, while Nigeria will have it all to do, particularly taking into account the surprise earlier result between Argentina and Iceland, their 1-all draw throwing this group right open, and setting up two more intriguing matches in a week’s time.

    Croatia: 2
    Nigeria: 0

  • 5:04am
    Kurt said | 5:04am | ! Report

    Difficult game to tip this one..Maybe the Croatioms.

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