By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 19th June 2018
Croatia vs Nigeria is the opening game in what has been tipped as this year’s ‘Group of Death’. This game will be the first ever encounter between the two sides.
Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, Inter’s Ivan Perisic and Real Madrid playmakers Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic are all set to feature for this experienced Croatia side. Nigeria meanwhile have former and current Premier League players John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi.
Nigeria have only won of their last 12 games at the World Cup (D3 L8) and boast the youngest side in the entire tournament with an average age of 25 years and 336 days.
Up-front, Mario Manzukic and Ivan Perisic will provide the fire power against the lowest rank side in Group D. Ivan Perisic scored or assisted half of Croatia’s goals at the last World Cup and him to score first is 7/1.
Nigeria will be boosted by the regular appearances at the World Cup having only missed one tournament (2006) since their first participation in 1994. Former Watford forward Odio Igahlo will start up front while Leicester City midfielder Wilfried Ndidi is expected to overcome a hamstring injury to start. Both teams to score in the first half is 6/1.
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about many different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Sport Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.