Croatia 2-0 Nigeria: Five Factors That Characterized the Game
……………1. Experience and Level of Competition:
The Croats seemed quite experienced in all departments, as against the Super Eagles made of relatively young players who have not played in a stage bigger as the World Cup. For instance Dejan Lovren played in the Champions League final for Liverpool against Real Madrid, and tonight paired with Besiktas’ Domagoj Vida in defence. Aside from John Obi Mikel, no other player in the Super Eagles’ line up has played in a big stage like the Champions league final. I haven’t mentioned Real Madrid’s Luka Modric.
2. Eagles Second Half Display/Formation Switch:
During the Pre,-World Cup friendly games, the Super Eagles were known for coming back strong in the second half. Interestingly, the improved performances were usually accompanied with some formation switch, which usually sees a drift from the 4-3-3 formation to 3-5-2, while more offensive players drafted in. This wasn’t the case today, as Rohr made the changes, but kept to the 4-3-3 formation.
3. 12th Man:
The Croats dominated the stands and technically won the game off the pitch as well. Did anyone see Nigerians drumming and using horns?
4. Technical Depth:
The game was won from the bench. I would love to reserve my comment in this area.
5. Group D – Still Open:
Iceland’s 1-1 draw with Argentina earlier, could be pivotal as regards to who qualifies from the group. The Croats may lead at the moment, but it is not yet done and dusted, as the need to secure a win against either of Argentina or Iceland, to be in Nigeria could still progress if they can win their two remaining group D games.
Promise Etim writes