It was disappointment for Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup when they lost 3-1 to hosts Brazil despite taking the lead, however we expect the Balkans to get off to the best possible start this time around when they lock horns with Nigeria on Saturday evening. Many pundits are expecting Croatia to be dark horses in the tournament and with an excellent squad at a very good age we expect them to give a good account of themselves as they look to progress from the group stages of the competition. The likes of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Rakitic will be strong in midfield and while the Croats haven’t been too impressive up-front of late, we don’t envisage them having too many problems against a Nigeria side which are winless in their last four games, the bookies giving away great free bets and price boosts on this match.
Nigeria made it through to the final of the African nations Championship where they were comprehensively beaten to the tune of 4-0 by Morocco, however since then they have struggled and with just one win in their subsequent five outings – this being by a single goal against Poland in March – we don’t envisage them getting their 2018 World Cup campaign off to a very good start this weekend. Nevertheless the Africans have managed to find the back of the net in seven of their last ten outings across all competitions and we expect them to grab themselves a consolation goal on Saturday evening with William Hill Bookies going 16/5 on Croatia to win and both teams to score.