Much like every other team in the tournament, the Nigerian national football team will be fancying their chances in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Super Eagles will launch their campaign against Croatia on Saturday in Kaliningrad, with the view of sailing through into the knock out stages of the competition.
Nigeria became the first of five African teams to qualify for the World Cup, with the likes of Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia following suit. The Super Eagles booked their ticket to Russia after finishing top of Group B in the African qualifiers with 14 points, six points aloft of second placed Zambia.
Cameroon and Algeria, who flew the continental flag during the last edition of the tournament in Brazil, were subjected to abject humiliation, as they rounded up the group with seven and two points respectively.
Algeria’s backroom power struggles translated to poor results on the pitch, while it was as clear as day that Cameroon had a mountain to climb in order to keep their World Cup hopes alive, after the Indomitable Lions were subjected to the agony of a 4-0 hammering by Nigeria in their first meeting of the Third Round; this despite being the current holders of the Africa Cup of Nations.
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As such, the Super Eagles will be staging their sixth appearance at the finals; one which could have been their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance had they not failed to qualify for the 2006 edition in Germany.
Croatia have every reason to be wary of Nigeria, who are potential favorites to make it out alive, despite being pooled alongside Argentina and Iceland. Argentina- who have already tasted victory twice in the competition having lifted the coveted prize in 1978 and 1986 — are overwhelming favorites so much for their rejuvenation after losing the final to Germany in 2014, as it is for their star-studded team.
Although Argentina’s World Cup hopes almost went up in smoke after a putrid start in their South American qualifying round, Lionel Messi’s presence in the team is an assurance that Argentina will do just enough to come up with the goods in Russia.
Iceland on the other hand are debutants in the competition, but their presence cannot be under looked, seeing as they overcame insurmountable odds to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
Nigerians take great pride in the fact that 3 million “Naija” jerseys were sold out on pre-orders, with none of the 90 USD shirts currently stocked in any Nike stores worldwide, but it takes more than just fancy jerseys to win a World Cup match.
Croatia vs. Nigeria match prediction
Croatia’s midfield oozes class with the unassailable duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, who will without question be the dons of the show, as they will be looking to pull the strings for the likes of Mario Mandzukic and Andrej Kramaric upfront.
The Super Eagles need to exert a measure of control in midfield, while maintaining the theme of attacking cavalier through Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses and the ilk.
Nigeria may have the youngest team at the 2018 World Cup with an average age of 25.3 years — even younger than Germany’s squad which stands at an average age of 25.7 years — but the youngsters play with verve and purpose, with a kindred spirit that will see them play out of their skins. We’re tipping an entertaining draw
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|Both teams to score||+120 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Draw||+270 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
Nigeria and Croatia recent results
Nigeria 0-1 Czech Republic (June 6, 2018)
England 2-1 Nigeria (June 2, 2018)
Nigeria 1-1 DR Congo (May 28, 2018)
Croatia 2-1 Senegal (June 8, 2018)
Brazil 2-0 Croatia (June 3, 2018)
Mexico 0-1 Croatia (March 28, 2018)
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