Monday, 16 July, 2018

Mixed reactions trail Nigeria’s loss to Croatia

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic was pleased with his team's win over Nigeria on Saturday. Murad Sezer  Reuters Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic was pleased with his team's win over Nigeria on Saturday. Murad Sezer  Reuters
Jeannette Daniel | 17 June, 2018, 16:45

Nigeria's lack of quality in the final third was evident and after Troost-Ekong was penalised for holding Mandzukic in the penalty area, Modric sent Uzoho the wrong way from 12 yards for his first World Cup goal.

Rohr, while speaking at the post-match conference of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D fixture, said he and his players were aware they made some important mistakes during the game.

Rohr, who admitted that the loss had made their task more herculean, said team Captain, Mikel Obi's performance in the game was satisfactory just as he equally praised the defenders.

"But this win will boost our confidence and as we go along, we will raise our game - but to get three points against them will be tough".

"But, he couldn't have done better than he did today, because of the quality of those he was playing against.

We have to keep going to try to improve on set pieces".

"All is possible for the qualification".


"We are a young team, we are learning and I hope in the next game against Iceland we will do much better".

"Of course it is important now to make at least four points if you want to qualify". It is all in our hands.

The first goal came just after the half-hour mark when a Croatian corner from the right was headed across the box and on to striker Mario Mandzukic, whose diving header found its way into the net off Etebo's foot.

Until then, Croatia and Nigeria had appeared evenly balanced, with the African side's goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa untroubled by powerful but long-range shots from Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric - the first going over the bar and the second finishing wide.

Rebic should have doubled Croatia's lead, firing over from Perisic's ideal left-wing centre, with Odion Ighalo's tame header recording the match's first shot on target in the 59th minute.

Luka Modric of Croatia celebrates with Ante Rebic after scoring from a penalty for his sides second goal in their group D match at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Kaliningrad.

Argentina's talisman Lionel Messi missed a penalty as the South Americans played out a disappointing 1-1 draw against spirited World Cup debutants Iceland. "This will lift us to continue our journey", said Real Madrid midfielder Modric.

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