No shots on target, one goal. The statistics at half-time during Croatia’s meeting with Nigeria reflected an opening 45 minutes shaded by the Balkan side – but largely dominated by defenders. Thus they start their journey with a victory 2-0 upon African team Nigeria. It may be one of the easiest wins for Croatia over Nigeria as the Nigerians struggled very badly against their opponent as they lacked possession and creativity of making their own goal.
Ivan Perisic went closest to hitting the target with an effort from 20m after a quarter of an hour, but because of Mandzukic’s superman-like flying header and thanks to Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo who brought joy to the huge Croatian contingent in Kaliningrad, beating his own goalkeeper following a corner. Etebo solved the mistake made by Mandzukic header and pointed it on the right direction by touching his right leg making it the first own goal of this FIFA WORLD CUP 2018.
Cautious in the first half, Nigeria came out with more purpose after the break, only for Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida to keep Odion Ighalo well and truly quiet. Luka Modric converting from the spot for a successful penalty kick making it a second goal up for his team after William Ekong held Mario Mandzukic in the box. It was no less than Modric deserved after a superb display that earned him the Man of the Match award.
Now because of this huge loss , Nigeria is in a tough spot and they would require some magic on them to get their first win over Iceland on their next match .
Croatia became the table toppers of GROUP D as Argentina failed to make it to the top of the table after a miserable draw against a resurgent Iceland due to the failure of Lionel Messi’s much talked about controversy to clear the penalty .