Nigeria landed in Russia on Monday night ahead of their 2018 Fifa World Cup opener against Croatia on Saturday, 16th June 2018
Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric has warned that Saturday’s opening Group D match against Nigeria will define his team’s outing at the World Cup in Russia.
Saturday’s match in Kaliningrad will kick off at 8pm local time, which will be 6pm in Nigeria.
It will be the first-ever meeting between the two countries at full international level as Croatia only became an independent country in 1992.
Kramaric said it is a crunch game for his star-studded team, who qualified for Russia 2018 through the playoffs.
“Nigeria are for me the most difficult and most important opponents,” he said at the team’s training ground in Saint Petersburg.
“That game is for us opening or the closing of the World Cup.
“So, we will have full concentration on that game.”
Argentina and Iceland are the other teams in Group D.
There are plenty of familiar names in the Nigeria squad though. No less than seven Premier League players are present, and their forward line is awash with Premier League players past and present. Odion Ighalo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, and Ahmed Musa all compete for a starting berth, and it’s this attacking presence that will give them hope.
Indeed, Nigeria have scored in seven of their last ten matches overall, and they’re facing a Croatia side who have conceded at least once in ten of their last 15 matches. The favorites have scored in nine of these games though, whilst Nigeria have conceded in seven of their last ten too.