Croatia vs Nigeria
Kick-off Time: 12:30 a.m. (IST)
Croatia and Nigeria will face each other at the Kaliningrad Stadium at 12:30 a.m. today in what would be the second game of the group. With Argentina, the favorites to top the group and tournament debutants Iceland, severe underdogs. This match could prove pivotal in deciding the final standings of Group D.
Croatia comes into the World Cup with a 2-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly at Anfield and will be itching to rediscover their form in Russia. With just 15 goals in 10 group qualification games, Croatia had the worst return of any European team to make it to Russia. On the other hand, they also only conceded 4 goals in the group stages, a record that was only bettered by two other teams. Croatia is a side with proven experience.
Even though Nigeria is the lowest-ranked side in the group, they have the potential to pull off some shocks. With the likes of Victor Moses and Jon Obi Mikel, the Super Eagles have experience but their squad is the youngest in the whole World Cup.
Both Croatia and Nigeria will fancy their chances of qualifying through to the knockout stage. And more importantly, Nigeria will also be able to showcase their super-popular new national team kit in their opening group fixture.
Croatia: This tournament could be the last chance for some of Croatia’s ‘Golden Generation’, such as Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Vedran Corluka, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Mario Mandzukic. Mandzukic is expected to lead the line forward for Croatia, while they have excellent midfield support through Modric, Ivan Rakitic, and Mateo Kovacic.
Nigeria: Skipper Jon Obi Mikel is expected to bring experience and skill to the side and Premier League trio Iwobi, Moses, and Ndidi will be crucial for the Super Eagles.
Croatia: Luka Modric is fresh off a Champions League win with Real Madrid and will undoubtedly be instilling valuable maturity in the team. The 32-year old will captain his Croatia side and will certainly be the talisman in midfield.
Nigeria: Arsenal star Alex Iwobi has impressed on all levels in recent months and has the chance to showcase his talent even further on the international stage. He will be the playmaker for the Nigerian team in Russia.
Form – Last 5
Croatia: D | L | W | L | W
Nigeria: L | W | L | L | L
Betting Odds – Sky Bet
Croatia 2 – 1 Nigeria: Croatia is likely to edge their opponents, Nigeria. Given their experience and top class talent throughout the team they will most probably be too much for the Super Eagles to handle.
Where to watch?
TV Channels (India) – Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony ESPN – 11:30 P.M IST
In addition, you can live stream all the Matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup from 14th June to 15th July only on the Official SonyLIV App and the SonyLIV Website.