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Group D | Croatia Vs Nigeria: Key Players who will make the difference and Expected Starting XI

Croatia Vs Nigeria, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia,Nigeria

Group D: Croatia Vs Nigeria

Come Saturday 16th of June 2018, The Vatreni of Croatia ?? will be taking on The Super Eagles of Nigeria ?? in the second fixture of Group D at 20:00 WAT in the Croatia Vs Nigeria fixture.

The clash will take place at The Kaliningrad Stadium and it will be the first time both teams will be battling it out on the field of play in a major tournament especially the FIFA World Cup.

Having Argentina ?? in their group, this match is definitely a must win for both sides or at the very worst, a draw, should either intend to progress past the group stages of The Mundial.

A closer look at the squads for both teams will aid in identifying the key battles that will most likely tip the balance in either’s favor.

The Vatreni of Croatia ??:

The Croats are one of the most balanced teams in the competition with a star studded line up as well.

Having progressed over Greece on a comfortable 4-1 aggregate scoreline, their confidence is high as well as their desire to go far in the tournament.

This will be their 5th appearance in the world cup and based on their recent games, they look up for the challenge of Croatia Vs Nigeria.


Coach: Zlatko Dalic


  • 1 Dominik Livaković (age 23) Croatia Dinamo Zagreb
  • 12 GK Lovre Kalinić (age 28) Belgium Gent
  • 23 GK Danijel Subašić (age 33) Monaco


  • 2  Šime Vrsaljko (age 26): Spain, Atlético Madrid
  • 3 Ivan Strinić (age 30): Italy, AC Milan
  • 5 Vedran Ćorluka (age 32): Russia, Lokomotiv Moscow
  • 6 Dejan Lovren (age 28): England, Liverpool
  • 13  Tin Jedvaj (age 22): Germany Bayer Leverkusen
  • 15 Duje Ćaleta-Car (age 21): Austria Red Bull Salzburg
  • 21 Domagoj Vida (age 29): Turkey, Beşiktaş
  • 22 Josip Pivarić (age 29): Ukraine, Dynamo Kyiv


  • 7 Ivan Rakitić (age 30): Spain, Barcelona
  • 8 Mateo Kovačić (age 24): Spain, Real Madrid
  • 10 Luka Modrić (Captain, age 32): Spain, Real Madrid
  • 11 Marcelo Brozović (age 25): Italy, Internazionale
  • 14 Filip Bradarić (age 26): Croatia, Rijeka
  • 19 Milan Badelj (age 29): Italy, Fiorentina


  • 4 Ivan Perišić (age 29): Italy, Internazionale
  • 9 Andrej Kramarić (age 26): Germany, 1899 Hoffenheim
  • 16 Nikola Kalinić (age 30): Italy, AC Milan
  • 17 Mario Mandžukić (age 32): Italy, Juventus
  • 18 Ante Rebić (age 24): Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt
  • 20 Marko Pjaca (age 23): Italy, Juventus

Key Players:

Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Mario Manduzic and Ivan Perisic.

Key players for Croatia ?? will include Luka Modric of Real Madrid, who will be tasked with orchestrating their play from the middle of the park alongside his club comrade Kovacic, Manduzic of Juventus, who will give defenders Balogun and Troost-Ekong a run for their money and finally Perisic of Inter Milan, who will be their outlet for counter-attacks for tonight’s tie of Croatia Vs Nigeria.

Strengths :

  1. Efficient Midfield
  2. Aerial Threat
  3. Set Piece specialists
  4. Highly defensive and effective on the counter…

Weaknesses :

  1. Lack of pace
  2. Too Organized hence predictable


They are capable of having a good run in the competition.

Predicted Line-Up For Croatia ??:

Formation 4-2-3-1

Croatia Vs Nigeria, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia
Predicted Line-up For Croatia

The Super Eagles of Nigeria ??:

The Super Eagles of Nigeria ?? are the youngest side in the tournament with an average age of 24.7 years.

First to qualify from the African continent for the Mundial, they are by no means a walkover for any side in the competition.

Their warm up games leading to the commencement of the world cup, clearly indicates their greatest strength and ironically, one of their weaknesses; Unpredictability.

The same group of players that put a Messi-less Argentine side to the sword with a 4-2 victory, despite going 2 goals down first, lost by a goal margin to England ?? , Czech ?? and Serbia ?? in the preparatory games.

They are a team uniquely described by 3 words; Youth, Potential and Talent. They seem to have a good outing in the tournament whenever their warm up games are dodgy Eg class of ’94, 02 and ’14.

The Super Eagles have already made an impression in the world cup without kicking ball, courtesy of their team jersey, which has got rave reviews over the world.

Croatia Vs Nigeria, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia
Nigerian hip hop star WizKid L and Arsenal Forward Alex Iwobi R, posing with the Nigerian world cup jersey samples.

This will be Nigeria’s 6th appearance in the world cup since their introduction to the tournament in USA 94


Coach: Gernot Rohr


  • Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna) 19 years
  • IkechukwuEzenwa (Enyimba) 29 years
  • Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United) 31 years


  • William Troost-Ekong (Buraspor) 24 years
  • AbdullahiShehu (Bursaspor) 25 years
  • Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag) 22 years
  • EldersonEchiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV) 30 years
  • Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm) 26 years
  • Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC) 21 years
  • Leon Balogun (Brighton) 29 years
  • Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa) 24 years


  • Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda) 31 years
  • Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor) 25 years
  • Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) 21 years
  • OghenekaroEtebo (Las Palmas) 22 years
  • John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) 30 years
  • Joel Obi (Torino, Italy) 27 years


  • Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow) 25 years
  • KelechiIheanacho (Leicester City) 21 years
  • Victor Moses (Chelsea) 27 years
  • Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai) 28 years
  • Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) 22 years
  • Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone) 26 years

Key Players:

Key players include, Alex Iwobi of Arsenal, Victor Moses of Chelsea, Mikel Obi and Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester city for tonight’s Croatia Vs Nigeria.

Strengths :

  • Physically sound
  • Pacy on the Counter
  • Very Mobile in the Midfield
  • Unpredictable


  • Unpredictable
  • Set Pieces (defending & attacking)
  • Aerial duels.


Likely to be the competition’s surprise package

Predicted Line-Up For Nigeria ??:

Formation: 4-3-3 hybrid

Croatia Vs Nigeria, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia
Predicted Line-up For Nigeria


Prediction for the game is a hard fought 2-1 win for The Super Eagles of Nigeria ??.

Croatia Vs Nigeria : 2-1

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Jude Nicholas
I am, exactly who you say I am ?... Loves football, a huge fan of Arsenal and The Super Eagles of Nigeria. Entertainment buff, writer and Music ? head...

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