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World Cup: Nigeria Vs Croatia

The whole of Nigeria sat at the edge of their seat Saturday evening to watch the Super Eagles first 2018 World Cup match against Croatia. We conceded two goals to the European team. No doubt both teams were star-studded, however it was quite clear from Saturday’s game that Croatia  (though not quite impressive themselves) had grasped even more what they stood to gain if they made a 3-pointer from their game against Nigeria; ‘top of the Group D table’ which was vacant and now an easy picking after group favorites, Argentina were wrestled down to a 1-1 draw by Iceland. The unpreparedness of the Super Eagles as a team became irrefutable when a rather mediocre Croatia were completing more passes, controlling the pace of the game while Nigeria’s finest were bereft of systematic moves – left to their own acumen. Nigeria’s pre-world Cup matches made clear certain loopholes in Nigeria’s midfield and defense positions that should have been shut tight, but Saturday’s match saw the Croatians play on these weaknesses and get world recognition for it. Croatia took the lead in 32nd minute via an unsophisticated move – a corner kick that deflected off Oghenekaro Etebo’s leg past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho. The second goal also came as a result of a corner, only this time the sight of Mario Mandzukic in the box caused Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong to make a critical decision, wrestling the Juventus striker to the ground. Luka Modric made good on the penalty by sending Uzoho on a search for an invincible ball while the real was already in the net, giving Croatia a 2-goal lead. Nigeria currently occupies the bottom of the Group D table and will have to work double-time to qualify from the ‘group of death’. Beating an already distressed Argentina and an undaunted Iceland is not going to be a walk in the park, but the Super Eagles can very well pull it off.

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This article was first published on 18th June 2018


Achem Samuel is a writer and a musician, he is passionate about God and also an ardent fan of tech, sports and music.

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