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National Teams > Men > A

A Kaliningrad victory

Croatia overcomes
Nigeria in World Cup
opener

16.06.2018.
Croatia overcomes Nigeria in World Cup opener
photo by: HNS
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Croatia national football team kicked off its World Cup campaign with a Kaliningrad victory over Nigeria (2:0).

CROATIA - NIGERIA 0:0 (0:0)
2018 FIFA World Cup, Group D.
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad.

Referee: S. Ricci (Brazil)

Goals: 1:0 - Etebo (32' - og), 2:0 - Modrić (72' - 11m)

Cautions: Rakitić (30'), Ekong (70'), Brozović (89')

Croatia: Subašić, Strinić, Vida, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Modrić, Rakitić, Perišić, Kramarić (60' Brozović), Rebić (78' Kovačić), Mandžukić (86' Pjaca). Head coach: Z. Dalić.

Nigeria: Uzoho, Shehu, Balogun, Ekong, Idowu, Ndidi, Etebo, Mikel (88' Nwankwo), Moses, Iwobi (62' Musa), Ighalo (73' Iheanacho). Head coach: G. Rohr.

For the first time after France '98, Croatia managed to secure victory in its World Cup opening match. In Kaliningrad, the Vatreni defeated Nigeria 2:0.

Perišić and Kramarić started off with quality efforts just off target, and Croatia took the lead on 32 minutes. Modrić's corner kick was followed by a Mandžukić header, while Etebo deflected the shot into his own net. Shortly before half-time, Kramarić had another chance.

After the break, Nigeria searched for an equalizer, but Croatia defence stood firm - alongside a couple of missed opportunities for the African team.

On 70 minutes, however, Mandžukić was fouled in the box, and captain Modrić calmly converted the penalty to double Croatia's lead.

Later on, Balogun and Ighalo tried to endanger Subašić, to no avail, and in the closing minutes it was Kovačić who failed to score Croatia's third.

In the other Group D first round match, Argentina and Iceland shared the spoils (1:1). In the second round, Argentina - Croatia match is scheduled on 21 June at Nizhny Novgorod (20:00 CET), while Nigeria - Iceland play on 22 June at Volgograd (17:00 CET).

2018 FIFA World Cup, Group D:
1. Croatia 3
2. Argentina 1
3. Iceland 1
4. Nigeria 0

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