Croatia v Nigeria preview

Croatia always seem to arrive at major competitions as one of the dark horses to go far and it is no different heading into their World Cup campaign this summer.

A midfield packed with the quality of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic is a match for any other team in the competition, but is the rest of the team good enough to ensure a run to the latter stages?

Full-time result draw – 3.80

Recent friendly results for Zlatko Dalic’s side are far from convincing, with 2-0 losses to both Peru and Brazil showing that the Croats still have some way to go before they can be considered genuine contenders.

Last time out the Vatreni edged to a 2-1 win over Senegal, when substitute Andrej Kramaric netted the winner 12 minutes from time.

Against Nigeria in Kaliningrad they need to turn the possession, that will undoubtedly come their way thanks to the midfield trio of Rakitic, Modric and Perisic, into chances and goals.

Failure to do so will see them possibly having to settle for a share of the spoils.

Both teams to score – 2.10

Just one clean sheet in their last four games suggests that Croatia have not quite settled on their best form of defence, while the Super Eagles are even less certain, having blanked out their opposition only once in their last eight outings.

However, with a number of players well known to Premier League fans among their ranks, Nigeria do have a threat going forward and are more than capable of capitalising on any Croatian hesitation.

Andrej Kramaric to score at any time – 3.00

Striker Andrej Kramaric struggled to make the grade with Leicester City, but a move to Hoffenheim has seen him show what he is capable of.

That was particularly the case in the second half of the Bundesliga season just ended, when he scored 11 goals in the final 14 games of the campaign, giving him plenty of confidence to head onto the biggest stage in world football.

Dejan Lovren total tackles over 4.5 – 3.00

Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren is a tough player to call, outstanding on his day, he still gives the impression that an error could be just around the corner.

One thing is certain is that he will not shy away from a challenge and if there is hard work to do to break up Nigerian attacks, he will be in the thick of the action.