Croatia vs Nigeria Predictions, Odds and Betting Tips
This match is over: Final score is: 2-0
Next Croatia match: Argentina vs Croatia
Next Nigeria match: Nigeria vs Iceland
16th June 2018 – 15:00 ET
Stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium
Croatia needed a play-off to ensure their place in Russia and they have been drawn in a competitive-looking Group D alongside Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria. They have an abundance of talent in their squad but they don’t have a great record at this tournament since becoming an independent nation. They progressed to the semi-final in 1998 but have come up against Brazil in each of their last two tournaments and failed to make it out of the group. Their fans caused numerous problems at Euro 2016 and there is still some discord between some of the players and supporters, which could potentially impact on their progress.
Nigeria flew through qualifying and finished five points clear at the top of their group. They have an exceptionally young squad who play with energy and enthusiasm but can occasionally suffer from moments of naivety. They warmed up for the tournament with a 4-2 victory over Argentina in Krasnodar and Gernot Rohr will have his side meticulously prepped ahead of their opener. They qualified for their first tournament in 1994 and have progressed beyond the group stage on three occasions. They will be looking to make the round of 16 once again, although it looks a reasonably difficult ask.
Croatia have a habit of doing the bare minimum and they drew 0-0 with Greece in the second leg of the play-offs having already built up an unassailable 4-1 lead from the first meeting. They rarely got out of first gear during their qualifying campaign and following a number of underwhelming performances, Ante Cacic was dismissed. They finished behind Iceland and the pair will meet again on June 26th. Zlatko Dalic has taken charge of the team and despite a 2-0 friendly defeat to Peru in March, the signs have been positive under his tutelage. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic make up a formidable duo and will be key to Croatia’s progress in Russia.
Alex Iwobi secured Nigeria’s place at the tournament with the Super Eagles easing to qualification despite being handed a tough-looking group. Wilfred Ndidi is set to return from injury prior to the competition getting underway and he will have a key role to play shielding the inexperienced defence. Victor Moses has enjoyed a decent season in the Premier League and he will be tasked with supplying deliveries from wide areas. Their unbeaten run came to an end against Serbia in March but their aforementioned victory against Argentina gives them plenty of confidence and they will believe that they can progress from Group D.
Croatia vs Nigeria Predictions
Croatia hammered Cameroon 4-0 during the 2014 World Cup but it wasn’t enough to secure their place in the next round. They will be keen to bounce back from the disappointment of that early exit and will be hoping to collect three points in this opener.
Pinnacle have priced Croatia at 1.85 to collect three points from their opening Group D encounter and they look a decent proposition. Their defeats in recent tournaments have come against better sides such as Brazil and Mexico. They should have too much for an inexperienced Nigeria side.
It may take them a while to score the opener and Draw/Croatia on the HT/FT is extremely tempting at a bigger price of 4.41 with Sports Interaction. Their last five qualifiers were all level at the break and it’s 1.98 to be all square at half time.
Despite conceding plenty of goals at the 2014 World Cup, they appear to have tightend up under Zlatko Dalic and they only conceded four times in ten qualifiers. They could restrict the chances of Nigeria and if they can take Victor Moses out of the game, they will find themselves in an advantageous position to keep yet another clean sheet. Both Teams to Score? No is 1.66 with Intertops.
Combining the two selections above, Croatia to Win to Nil is recommended at 3.00 with mybookie.
2-0 is a likely scoreline and can be backed at 7.10 with Sports Interaction. This was a scoreline which landed twice during qualifying (vs Iceland and Ukraine).
- Croatia scored six times at the 2014 World Cup but failed to make it past the Group Stage
- They have suffered three consecutive group-stage exits at this tournament
Croatia to be eliminated in the last 16 is priced at 7/4 with William Hill
- Croatia failed to score in their opening two games of the 2006 tournament
- Mario Mandzukic scored twice at the 2014 World Cup and will be looking to add to his tally
- 1994 was the first time that Nigeria have qualified for the World Cup
- Nigeria have won five matches at the World Cup but only once since 1998 (vs Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- They were defeated 2-0 by France in the round of 16 four years ago
Croatia: Dominik Livaković, Šime Vrsaljko, Ivan Strinić, Ivan Perišić, Vedran Ćorluka, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Rakitić, Mateo Kovačić, Andrej Kramarić, Luka Modrić (captain), Marcelo Brozović, Lovre Kalinić, Tin Jedvaj, Filip Bradarić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Nikola Kalinić, Mario Mandžukić, Ante Rebić, Milan Badelj, Marko Pjaca, Domagoj Vida, Josip Pivarić, Danijel Subašić.
Nigeria: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Brian Idowu, Elderson Echiéjilé, Wilfred Ndidi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Ahmed Musa, Oghenekaro Etebo, Odion Ighalo, John Obi Mikel (captain), Victor Moses, Shehu Abdullahi, Simeon Nwankwo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Joel Obi, Daniel Akpeyi, Ogenyi Onazi, Alex Iwobi, John Ogu, Chidozie Awaziem, Tyronne Ebuehi, Kenneth Omeruo, Francis Uzoho.