2018 World Cup
Result: Croatia 2-0 Nigeria
Date: 16 June 2018
Venue: Kaliningrad Stadium
Another African nation suffered defeat in their opening 2018 World Cup clash as Nigeria went down 2-0 to Luka Modric's Croatia in Group D on Saturday evening.
The Super Eagles were full of energy in the early stages of the match but were unable to trouble the Croatian defence.
However, Ivan Perisic got the first good chance for Croatia in the 13th minute with a strike from the edge of the box that sailed just over the bar.
Croatia's dominance eventually paid off in the 32nd minute as Mario Mandzukic’s diving header inside the box was diverted into the net by Oghenekaro Etebo, 1-0.
Croatia started sitting back a bit after they found the breakthrough, which allowed the Super Eagles space to play.
However, Rohr’s men could not create clear chances in the closing stages of the first stanza and went into the halftime break trailing 1-0.
The Super Eagles applied the pressure in the first ten minutes of the second stanza, denying Croatia the chance to get out of the own half.
Odion Ighalo nearly found the equaliser on the hour-mark for Nigeria with a glancing header inside the box but Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was positioned well to save the effort.
The Vatreni were awarded a penalty 20 minutes before time after Mandzukic was brought down in the box. Luka Modric stepped up to make it 2-0 from the spot-kick.
Nigeria enjoyed more of the ball in the closing stages, although they were let down by their decision-making in the final third.
The Croatians did have a chance to bag a third goal in second-half stoppage time, but substitute Mateo Kovacic failed beat Francis from close range as the clash ended 2-0.
Croatia now sit top of Group D while Argentina and Iceland occupy second and third respectively. Nigeria find themselves at the bottom of the group.