3 Things that went right for Croatia against Nigeria
Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 in the second Group D game of the day at the Kaliningrad Stadium of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. An own goal from Oghenekaro Etebo gave the Croats the lead right after the half-hour mark.
Nigeria were alive in the game and created the better opportunities until a penalty given by William Troost-Ekong in the final 20 minutes of the game sealed their fate as Luka Modric coolly put the spot kick away to give Croatia the three points.
The win moves Zlatko Dalić's men to the top of Group D ahead of Argentina while Nigeria will have a chance to redeem themselves in their next game against Iceland.
On that note, here is a look at what went right for Croatia:
#1 Fortune favours Croatia
Match 8 of the World Cup between Croatia and Nigeria was unlike any of the games we have witnessed in the two and a half days. The game was evenly balanced yet uninspiring as both teams created nothing more than mere half chances during the entire 90 minutes and the Croats rode their luck thanks to an own goal and a penalty.
Croatia had 12 attempts at goal but only two were on target from open play with the second shot on goal being shockingly in the 92nd minute while they were leading by two goals. On the other hand, Nigeria can consider themselves unlucky, firstly when Oghenekaro Etebo put the ball in his own after failing to deal with a Luka Modric corner that carried slight deflections.
Even though Zlatko Dalić's side were not clinical, they did dominate for the large part with the control in possession and ball distribution from the midfield duo of Modric and Ivan Rakitic, making it tough for the opposition to penetrate through their midfield whereas a lack of firepower up front also hurt Nigeria when they eventually did create some sort of half chances.
Andrej Kramaric, Ante Rebic, and Mario Mandzukic had two shots each with latter having the best chance in the first half when his strike just whispered past the goal post from a long-range effort. Mandzukic proved to be a difference maker in a tightly contested affair as his aerial strength caused trouble for the Nigerian backline.
The first half goal lifted Croatia as they kept creating chances as the game progressed and when William Troost-Ekong dragged Mandzukic down, the spot kick was comfortably converted by captain Modric to get his team rolling in the World Cup.