Croatia vs Nigeria
Croatians had to go through more difficult way to find their place at the World Cup. They only finished second in the qualifying group. And their second position was earned in the last round of the qualifiers. They ended up having two points less than Iceland and with three more than Ukraine.
That 2:0 victory over Ukraine was very crucial as they changed coach couple of days before it. Later on, they faced up against Greek national team in playoffs and used momentum well. Greeks were beaten 4:1 in front of home crowd, keeping comfortable goalless draw in the second leg.
They had an American trip back in March experimenting much and suffering 2:0 defeat against Peru and winning over Mexico 1:0. As for the most recent matches, the side suffered 2:0 defeat against Brazil in Liverpool early in June. They looked decently well in defense till last twenty minutes when the Brazilians upped the tempo.
Final rehearsal before the tournament saw them winning over Senegal 2:1 at home. Mandzukic should lead their attack together with Perisic, Modric, and Kramaric as offensive support.
Nigerians did well very in the qualifying stage. They had four victories and two draws in last third stage of the qualifiers boosting the morale a lot. The side had six points more than second-placed Zambia and was safe before the last round played.
That momentum was used well for the African Nations Championship to reach the finals in January losing to Morocco. However, this competition is of limited importance since only players playing in domestic leagues of each nation were involved.
As for the friendlies, Nigerians didn't impress recently suffering defeats to the Czech Republic and England with a narrow result. Moreover, they had a 1:1 draw against D.R. Congo and a 2:3 defeat against bit rotated squad of Atletico Madrid later in May.
Ighalo should lead Nigerian attack. Moses, Etebo, and Iwobi will be offensive midfielders. Francis Uzoho who is 19 years old should be their goalkeeper.
Croats didn't impress much in recent matches, but Nigerians did even worse. Probably biggest problem of Croatian lineup is defensive part of the game, but this shouldn't be the problem against modest Africans. Simply, their opponents are even worse there. If Croats want to progress further this is completely must-win game for them and I believe they'll get it without conceding. Nigeria didn't show much of a game plan so far in friendlies.
Croatia vs Nigeria prediction
Croatia Wins @ 1.78 with Pinnacle