On the 14th June 2018, the whole world will stand still for the commencement of FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 but to many Nigerians, the world cup starts on the 16th when the Super Eagles takes on Croatia.
Croatia parades very experienced players who have played at previous World Cup competitions and many still play for big European teams. From the likes of Modric of Real Madrid, Rakitic of Barcelona, Mandzukic of Juventus, Lovren of Liverpool, Perisic of Inter Milan etc.
Modric and Rakitic, have 194 caps between them, Vedran Corluka boasts of 97-cap, 82-cap for Mario Mandzukic and 64-cap Ivan Perisic – that’s the experience this Croatia team parades.
Ranked as the 20th footballing nation in the world, 28 places ahead of Nigeria on the latest FIFA ranking. Croatian national team is managed by 51 year old Zlatko Dalić. Zlatko Dalić was a defensive midfielder and favours a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Google win probability gives Croatia 51% chance to win and 28% for a draw result.
Super Eagles team is majorly made up of young players with little experience. Mikel Obi, Elderson Echiele, Ogenyi Onazi, Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses are the only players to have played in a FIFA world cup before.
The star players in the team are Mikel Obi and Victor Moses. Both players have played at the biggest football stage in the world, especially Mikel who has won everything in club football with Chelsea FC.
64 year old German tactician, Gernot Rohr is the Super Eagles coach. Rohr is an experienced manager, who led Bordeaux to UEFA cup final in 1996 and was sporting director at Frankfurt.
He has coached Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso national teams and that gives him the knowledge of how to manage an African team. Rohr is a big fan of 4-3-3 formation and he’s very particular about the defensive set up of his team.
According to google win probability, Super Eagles has just 21% chance to defeat Croatia and are ranked 47 by FIFA.