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Croatia’s golden generation defeats Nigeria green Eagles 2-0 | Coastweek

KALININGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Oghenekaro Etebo [front right] of Nigeria vies with Mario Mandzukic of Croatia during a group D match between Croatia and Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kaliningrad, Russia, June 16, 2018. XINHUA PHOTO - LIU DAWEI)

Croatia’s golden generation defeats Nigeria green Eagles 2-0

KALININGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Croatia’s golden generation started their World Cup campaign brilliantly, leading Group D after a 2-0 victory against Nigeria.

Featuring 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 afternoon.

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 momentum gradually.

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 Rakitic.

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.

             

 

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