Connect with us

FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Nigeria Hoping to Overpower Croatia in ‘Pool of Death’ Clash

Nigeria will take on Croatia in their first 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D match at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Russia on Saturday.

The Super Eagles who are the lowest ranked team in the group that also consists of Argentina and Iceland, come into the match with the record of their final three friendlies reading two losses and a draw.

They lost their last build-up game by a solitary to Czech Republic but the three-time Africa champions are expected to put a good fight against the Croatians in the first senior international meeting between the two sides.

Nigeria squad boasts several players with English Premier League pedigree who are expected to break the jinx of not winning first game of their World Cup outing since 2002.

They will be relying on Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho to provide the flare and creativity in the front third as Victor Moses offers width while John Obi Mikel and Wilfred Ndidi compliment the attacking set-up.

Nigeria have displayed the ability to punch above their weight as they did at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they reached the round of 16 and are not short on confidence against the 20th-ranked Croatians.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“This game is very important to us because it is very important to start winning and get a good result. We are optimistic, we want to beat Croatia,”[/perfectpullquote]

said Victor Moses, who is expected to control the midfield battle.

“The most important thing is not to lose this first game because they are sometimes the most important. Croatia can beat anyone, but Nigeria can beat Croatia. We’ll have to do it like a team.”

On his side, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has assured fans back home that his charges are in no mood to play second fiddle.


“We are looking forward to the match with a lot of optimism. It will be a tough one, but we are physically and mentally ready.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It is important to start well in a good tournament like this, and that is what we hope to do on Saturday,”[/perfectpullquote]

Rohr told the world media on Thursday.

It is believed Rohr will continue with a 3-5-2 with John Ogu as the third centre-back according to sources that also claim Tyronne Ebuehi could be set for a start ahead of Shehu Abdullahi.

Nigeria have notched seven goals in their last 10 games while Croatia have found the net in nine games an indication that the game promises fireworks but as underdogs they have it all to play for and will likely make things difficult for the Eastern European side.

Super Eagles have met European teams 11 times in the World Cup putting a fair record of five wins, five losses and one draw.

Nigeria probable line-up for Croatia:

Uzoho, Shehu, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu, Obi, Onazi, Moses, Mikel, Iwobi, Ighalo

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Translate »