World Cup – Gp D
- Croatia vs Nigeria
- 8:00 pm Saturday 16th June
- Kaliningrad Stadium
Croatia and Nigeria meet for the first time in Kaliningrad on Saturday in a World Cup clash that could prove crucial to their chances of making it out of the group stage.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are the lowest-ranked side in the group, reached the last 16 in Brazil four years ago but come into this tournament having failed to win any of their last four friendlies, with manager Gernot Rohr hinting he will revert back to previous formations to help the Super Eagles seal a victory.
Croatia boasts the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in their ranks but failed to progress from the group stage in Brazil and needed a play-off to reach Russia.
Since qualifying for the World Cup, the Croats have registered two wins and as many defeats in international friendlies, keeping only one clean sheet during that run and finding the net three times.
Since beating Poland in Wroclaw thanks to a Victor Moses penalty, Nigeria have gone four matches without a win, a run which includes a 2-1 friendly defeat to England at Wembley Stadium.
Question marks remain over Croatia’s left-back position, though Ivan Strinic is being tipped to get the nod, as well as how best to deploy versatile forward Andrej Kramaric.
An injury ensured Moses Simon had to pull out of the Nigeria squad ahead of the tournament, although Wilfried Ndidi is fit to play despite some concerns over his inclusion.
Croatia possible starting lineup:
Subasic; Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Strinic; Brozovic, Ivan Rakitic; Abdrej Kramaric, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic; Mario Mandzukic
Nigeria possible starting lineup:
Francis Uzoho; Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Abdullahi, Bryan Idowu; Ndidi, Onazi; Alex Iwobi, Mikel Obi, Victor Moses; Odion Ighalo
Head To Head
This will be the first time that Croatia and Nigeria have faced each other.
Croatia 1 Vs 2 Nigeria