Croatia vs Nigeria Group D World Cup Picks & Predictions 6/16/2018
World Cup Group D
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Croatia will play at Kaliningrad Stadium when they take on Nigeria on Saturday, June 16, 2018 in a Group D matchup. The opening line for this game has Croatia at -155 and Nigeria at +475. The total has been set at 2.25. Considering Group D is supposed to be one of the most competitive groups at the World Cup this year, both Croatia and Nigeria will be looking to get out to a good start in this first match. This is definitely an intriguing matchup as both teams have a lot of talent and very different play styles.
Croatia has one of the oldest squads in the tournament this year, but they could use that to their advantage. They have excellent midfielders who are able to control the game with their discipline and pinpoint passing. If they're going to come out of this group ahead of Argentina, they will need to perform better than they did during the qualifying stages. Croatia has dripped in the FIFA rankings over the last year and they currently sit in 18th in the world. Coach Zlatko Dalic has only been in charge since late in 2017, so he hasn't had much time to work with this talented group yet.
At 32, this might be Modric's last World Cup at full talent levels, so he will certainly be looking to help his team get as far as they possibly can in this tournament. He will be counted on to control the midfield area and find his teammates ahead of him, which he most certainly will if they show good movement.
There are others who can score on this team, but if the big striker can consistently hold up play and get in good positions to receive the ball in the box, Croatia could go far in this World Cup.
The name of the game with Nigeria is speed. They can use their high pace to tire their opponents and to get into good positions around the goal. However, their big problem is their defense, which isn't as talented as most other teams' defenses in this tournament. The Super Eagles have struggled in recent months, losing to England, Serbia, and Morocco. This team has done well on the big stage, though, by easily winning their qualifying group and absolutely destroying Cameroon 4-0. Nigeria is currently 47th in the FIFA rankings, though they have shown that they can punch above their weight in big games. Coach Gernot Rohr did a great job getting Nigeria into the tournament, but we'll have to wait and see how he approaches these very talented teams in Group D.
Moses runs hot and cold at club level, but he usually steps it up big time for his country. The speedy winger will be tasked with putting defenses under a ton of pressure with creative runs and shots from every angle. If he gets his touches on a consistent basis, Nigeria has a chance to sneak into the next round.
John Obi Mikel
Mikel is nearing his 100th cap with the Nigerian national team and he was an easy pick as captain for this squad. He is a great leader on the field and he reads the game extremely well. As long as he isn't left isolated up the middle, the 31-year-old should be able to keep opposing offenses contained.
Key Croatia Injuries
No key injuries to report
Key Nigeria Injuries
No key injuries to report
Who will win tonight's Croatia/Nigeria World Cup game against the spread?
Tony's Pick: Take Croatia -155
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