Profiling The Top Five Croatia Players That Can Cause Nigeria Problems
Published: May 15, 2018
Profiling The Top Five Croatia Players That Can Cause Nigeria ProblemsNigeria's first World Cup opponents, Croatia announced on Monday 14th, May their 32-man provisional roster for the World Cup rendezvous, of which there are dead-certain ones to make the final competition list by the time it turns out.

Barring any last-gasp eventualities, Real Madrid duo, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Juventus's Mario Mandzukic and Liverpool's Dejan Lovren are all expected to headline The Blazers first XI that would trot out on the Kaliningrad Stadium turf on 16th June to battle Nigeria. profiles five of these Croatians that can hurt Gernot Rohr's men judging by their efficiency in their respective positions and what they bring to the team when in action.

Luka Modric: Modric is the key cog in a well-oiled machine for both Los Blancos in La liga and Zlatko Dalić's team. The team skipper would be relied on to transition defence into attack for his side and in a situation whereby he is ill-checked by any of the Nigerian midfielders on the day, can be a lot of nuisance in the final third.

The 32-year old played 41 competitive games for Real Madrid in the course of the concluding season (two goals,eight assists), and even though he does not score so many, he is very likely to pop up with a moment of brilliance or that clichéd goal, worthy of winning any game.

Mateo Kovacic: Described as one of the most trusted Zinedine Zidane players at Santiago Bernabeu, the talented midfielder who once played together with Nigeria's Joel Obi at Inter Milan is well expected to dovetail with Modric in midfield against the Super Eagles and ofcourse, is lethal enough to cause problems.

This season, he has made 35 outings for Real Madrid in all competitions.

Ivan Rakitic: Rakitic is unmistakably one of the most talented players in the Croatian team. A calculated midfielder with a sharp eye for goal, measures should be taken to see the Barcelona man is starved of valuable service when he comes up against Nigeria.

He is as adept at finding teammates with killer passes as he is at taking set pieces. A mainstay in the Blaugrana team, he was one of the star performers for the club this term.

Mario Mandzukic: A veritable goal poacher with a physical side to his game, Mandzukic would undoubtedly prove a handful for the Eagles defence. The Juventus striker is always lurking around to cause havoc for opponents and should he get space and service, is very deadly. This season, he weighed in with ten goals and four assists in all competitions for his title-winning Serie A outfit.

Dejan Lovren: Liverpool defender, Lovren would be tasked with marshaling the Croatian backline and keeping the Super Eagles attackers, the likes of Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo at bay at the Kaliningrad turf.

He is a gritty, towering defender who is well known in the English Premier League for his defensive qualities and it would take the Nigerian strikers at their best in order to manoeuvre him and his fellow defenders.

This campaign, the 28-year old played 42 games for the Champions League finalists, scoring twice from his defensive position while laying on another goal.

Emmanuel Chinaza

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