(Xinhua) -- Croatia’s golden
generation started their World Cup campaign brilliantly, leading
Group D after a 2-0 victory against Nigeria.
four forwards in the line-up, Croatia manifested nothing but
ambitions to win their opening match, after witnessing an
unexpected draw of Argentina against Iceland earlier in the
Ranked higher than their opponents though, the Croats,
carrying expectations and also pressure, spent almost 30 minutes
to find the rhythm.
At the 32nd minute, Modric’s corner kick volleyed by Rebic,
culminated in Mandzukic’s diving header. The off-target shot was
deflected by Etebo into his own gaol.
The goal gave the Vatreni confidence and helped them gain the
Nigeria, the youngest team of the tournament only struggled
to equalize the game with sporadic efforts.
After switching sides, Croatia continued to control the game
thanks to their talented midfield dual - captain Modric and
At the 71st minute, Mandzukic was wrestled down in the
penalty by Ekong, and Croatia’s captain did not waste the chance
to double the lead.
Croatia are leading Group D after the first round, followed
by Iceland and Argentina, both of which collected only one point
each from a 1-1 draw.
Croatia will play group favorites Argentina on June 21, and
Nigeria are to take on Iceland the next day.