The Super Eagles of Nigeria will open their 2018 World Cup campaign when they square up against Croatia in what could be a decisive Group D clash.

In the build up to the tournament, Nigeria have struggled in friendly matches this year, winning just a single game against the Polish National team.

The team would look to allay fears of the poor preparation when they take to the pitch on Saturday night, with the Croatians also looking to start the competition on the front foot.

Croatia on their part have previously played one World Cup match against an African country to date. That was at Brazil 2014, where the Vatreni put four goals past Cameroon without reply to record what was their last victory on the global stage.

However, the Super Eagles can also draw on fond memories, in their case of their most recent encounter against Balkan opposition. Their sole win in their last six World Cup meetings with UEFA representatives came against none other than a nation from the former Yugoslavia: a 1-0 success against Bosnia-Herzegovina four years ago.

Nigeria’s Potential Starting X1: Francis Uzoho, Shehu Abdullahi, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Brian Idowu, Wilfred Ndidi, John Ogu, Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi.

Croatia Republic potential starting XI: Danijel Subasic; Sime Vrsaljko, Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Strinic; Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic; Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Ante Rebic; Mario Mandzukic

Head to Head clash:
This is the first time Nigeria and Croatia will be meeting in a competitive game.

Coaches:
• Gernot Rohr (Nigeria)
• Zlatko Dalic (Croatia)

Date, Time and Venue of the match:

  • June 16th, 2018
  • 8:00pm (Nigerian time)
  • Kaliningrad stadium, Russia.

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There are very few things in life that make me happy, but talking and writing Sports has to be at the top. I honed my broadcasting skills at the University of Lagos Radio Station and have free-lanced for platforms like Top Radio and Superscreen TV amongst others. Deji loves running commentaries on Football matches and Athletics, and is now a Junior Sports Writer at Making of Champions. He hopes to become a Sports Agent in the future.

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