Dark Horse Croatia strengthen their position in Group of death
Group D is considered to be the group of death of FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, and Iceland proved that with their debut performance against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Iceland drew 1-1 with Argentina, snatching a point in a match which Argentina must have targeted to win. Dark Horse Croatia capitalize in this situation strengthening their position with a 2-0 victory over Nigeria.
Croatia didn’t impress with their open play but they got the most important victory to kick-start their campaign. Their first goal came from a Luka Modric’s corner resulting in an own goal by Etebo’s leg. Modric’s out swinging ball found the header of Ante Rebic pointing to Mario Mandzukic who dive to put in the net but Etebo helped him with a deflection.
FT: #CRO 2-0 #NGA. Nigeria blocked the middle so Croatia used the flanks. Rebic and Kramaric looked good, Mandzukic useful, Modric classy as ever, Vida strong. No fluency or clear plan to Nigeria’s attacking work. John Obi Mikel did so little. #WorldCup
— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) June 16, 2018
Luka Modric sealed the deal from the penalty spot in second-half securing 2-0 victory. It put Croatia on top of the table of Group D with three points forcing Argentina and Iceland to chase them.
Vatreni have never reached to the knockout stages since 1998 and now it feels this is their turn. The dark horses have a very promising squad decorated with tournament’s best midfield duo. Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, the versatile duo holds the position for them. They have one of the best forward in Mario Mandzukic, Andrej Kramaric, and Ivan Perisic. And, you’ll have less complain about their defense with the presence of Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, and Sime Vrsaljko.
Nigeria really poor… Croatia didn’t have to get out of first gear… Thought the Super Eagles might rise to the occasion but the poor form from the warm-up matches continued.
Iceland is surely a must-win for them now.
Meanwhile Croatia take control of Group D.
— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) June 16, 2018
Croatia have lot of expectation from their national side. They haven’t lived up to the expectation in recent times but still, people believe that it’s their golden generation. The golden generation will have to come up with something this time, but their real test will be against Argentina on June 21 at Nizhny Novgorod.
Luka Modric said in his post-match about Argentina match, “it’s going to be tough, they will have to play for a win because of the scoreline of today’s game that they never expected, but this is an important game for us as well.”
Nigeria have the youngest squad in this FIFA World Cup but their ability to perform at this stage was never a doubt, but their loss against Croatia seems to finalize that Iceland may charm us to finish second or third from this group. Croatia victory have made the Argentina job tough and it’s highly unlikely that they are going to finish the Group D winner.