World Cup: Croatia’s Golden Boys Stumble To Victory Over Nigeria Via Own-Goal And Penalty (Photos & Video)

Alan Duffy

17th, June 2018


Embed from Getty Images

With their golden generation under sustained pressure to pull something out of the bag this summer, Croatia kick-started their World Cup with a deserved, yet fairly uninspiring 2-0 win over Nigeria.

Disappointing the entire viewing world, the Nigerians wore their duller second kit for their first Group D game, and their performance was equally subdued, with Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi struggling to make his mark on the game.

Embed from Getty Images

In midfield, star men Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic pulled the strings for the Croatians, only to let down by a disappointingly lacklustre front-line.

Embed from Getty Images

However, the breakthrough goal would come for Croatia just after the half-hour mark, with defender Oghenekaro Etebo deflecting a touch from Mario Mandzukic into his own net.

Quite an unfortunate start to the competition for the new Stoke signing (Etebo, not Mandzukic!)…

Nigeria singularly failed to create much of note at the other end of the pitch, and it was Croatia who would eventually score again to put the result beyond doubt on 71 minutes, this time courtesy of a penalty.

The spot-kick was correctly given after William Troost-Ekong had fouled Mandzukic at a corner, with Modric converting from 12 yards with what was actually his side’s first shot on target of the entire game.

The game would end 2-0 to the Croats, a victory they merited despite the mediocre clash.

Embed from Getty Images

Zlatko Dalic’s team now sit atop Group D, and face Argentina on Thursday.

Embed from Getty Images

As for Nigeria, they’ll be hoping for a much better display against Iceland next Friday.