Betting tip World Cup 2018: Croatia - Nigeria
Saturday, 16.06.2018 at 21:00 o’clock (CET)
World Cup dark horse Croatia in a must-win match against Nigeria
Croatia begins Group D competition as a dark horse to win the 2018 World Cup, going up against longshot Nigeria in their first match. Whereas Croatia has been struggling with inconsistent performances recently, Nigeria does not have much to lose in the 2018 World Cup, meaning that they will probably play an uninhibited match. In our analysis, we have taken a close look at the betting tips that are likely to prove most lucrative. This match kicks off at 8 PM on 16.06.2018.
- talented squad top to bottom
- central midfield shines
- dangerous options up front
- successful in warm-up matches against Argentina and Poland
- opponent inconsistent in recent matches
Current Form of Croatia
Because Croatia was only a second-place finisher behind Iceland in their World Cup qualifying group, Zlatko Dalic’s team was forced into the playoffs. However, once there they had no problems eliminating Greece, dominating them with an aggregate score of 4:1, thus punching Croatia’s well-earned ticket to the World Cup in Russia. One look at the Croatian squad just goes to show that, if the Croatians had indeed dropped the ball in their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, they would have sorely been missed: We eagerly await the on-field performance of such superstars as Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Perisic during the tournament. That said, the test games they have played since their successful playoff performance don’t really shed much light on what we can expect from Croatia at the 2018 World Cup. The team’s performance and results were a mixed bag, making it hard to predict how they will do in Russia. In their first friendly after the playoffs, Croatia actually lost to Peru, a team definitely not to be underestimated, by a score of 0:2, though they then came out on top against Mexico with a 1:0 win. In both of these matches against two other World Cup participants, Dalic’s squad showed us two completely different faces, which is why Croatia will be very much of a grab bag in terms of our World Cup 2018 predictions. In the final preparatory phase prior to the start of the World Cup in Russia, Croatia tested its mettle against Brazil and Senegal, two World Cup participants yet again. Against World Cup favorites Brazil, there wasn’t much for Croatia to write home about. The Dalic team was clearly beaten 0:2 and the difference in skill levels between the two teams was impossible to deny, more than justifying the result. Croatia’s final dress rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup was against Senegal, where they were indeed able to celebrate a 2:1 victory. Despite this success, we feel that only cautious optimism is merited as we look at the Croatian team. Nonetheless, and despite Croatia’s inconsistent performances in friendlies during the run-up to the World Cup, we see Croatia as clear favorites against Nigeria, likely to succeed, if for no other reason, due to the higher quality of players on their squad. Furthermore, in our analysis we see a Croatian victory against longshot Nigeria as an absolute must if they want to avoid putting immense pressure on themselves in what is otherwise a very tight Group D.
Current Form of Nigeria
Nigeria had no problems punching their ticket for Russia quite early in their World Cup qualifying group. Since then, the Nigerian national team has taken part in 6 warm-up matches, an analysis of which poses several questions: In November of last year, Nigeria competed in its first friendly after qualifying, recording a sensational 4:2 victory over World Cup favorite Argentina. This was followed by yet another win against a 2018 participant: Poland was beaten on their home turf 1:0. However, since these two surprising results things have gone steeply downhill for the “Super Eagles”: Of the 4 remaining test encounters, they were unable to win a single one. Against the Democratic Republic of Congo they could not do better than a 1:1 draw, while the matches against Serbia, England and Czech Republic were all lost. If we look at the Nigerian squad, it becomes quite clear that, especially in comparison to their group opponents Croatia and Argentina, the opportunities for coach Gernot Rohr are likely to be quite limited: Though the Nigerian national team does boast intriguing players from top European leagues, including Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, the overall depth of the squad is clearly nowhere near the level of the teams from Croatia and Argentina. Admittedly, coach Rohr’s team did perform respectably well against World Cup dark-horse favorite England, yet there is no denying that Nigeria is a clear longshot in Group D. That also applies to their match against Croatia, in which, our analysis suggests, their only hope will be to neutralize the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in the Croatian midfield. But since this will be anything other than easy, our prediction assumes a victory by Croatia and thus suggests you make a corresponding wager.
Betting Tip and Prediction
Due to the strength of the squad alone, we see Croatia as a clear favorite to win over Nigeria. And the odds for this result are still surprisingly lucrative. In our analysis, we suggest: Tip 1.
DEL 1st Bundesliga
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