Croatia v Nigeria
Saturday 8pm, live on ITV
NOW this is what the World Cup is all about. We have Europe v Africa, we have the very first meeting of these two teams and we have a smattering of classy footballers from the EPL, La Liga and beyond.
Croatia have quality in every department with Subisic in goal, Lovren at the back and Modric, Perisic and Rakitic across the middle. They have had issues recently with internal politics at the Croatian FA where there have been corruption charges which even led to perjury charges against Luka Modric and possibly Dejan Lovren too. That division and internal strife is likely to be their biggest challenge because on the pitch they are a class act.
The Nigerian team are also not short on players with top level experience. Mikel, Iwobi, Moses, Ighalo and Ndidi bring plenty of quality across the middle of the park and up top but I think the Nigerians are lacking a bit in defence.
I can see goals in this one and I think the Croatian quality will prevail in the end but there is real value in the price for both teams to score.
With Argentina in the group both teams will be conscious that they really need to win the game if they want to progress and I expect goals in the 2nd half as both teams commit bodies forward.
I think this could be a cracking game and I’m looking forward to it.
- Croatia win 3-1 (17-1, BetVictor)
- Ivan Rakitic (12-1, Bet365)
- Croatia win
- Both teams to score
- Over 2.5 goals
- Most goals in the 2nd half
- Combined odds 13-2 (Bet365)