World Cup 2018 Croatia tops Nigeria to take control of Group D

Croatia tops Nigeria to take control of Group D

It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing victory, but Croatia earned the full three points by defeating Nigeria 2-0 in Kaliningrad on Saturday. Juvenus forward Mario Mandzukic’s diving header caused an own goal in the first half, and he drew a penalty that Luka Modric converted in the second.

With the relatively painless victory, Croatia goes to the top of Group D. Argentina and Iceland drew 1-1 earlier in the day.

The match was even early on, with both teams looking to attack and trading possession, but neither able to find a shot on goal, or even a key pass.

In the 32nd minute, Croatia found a bit of luck. A Luka Modric corner kick was deflected toward the back post, and Mandzukic met it with a diving header. The ball was going well wide, but deflected off Nigerian midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo and into the back of the net. It was ruled an own goal.

Nigeria continued funneling their attack through winger Victor Moses, but he was rarely able to beat the final man or put a dangerous ball into the box. Three straight corners to begin the second half that didn’t even result in a single shot just about summed up the Nigerian attack.

Croatia’s second goal came on another corner kick, one of their six in the match. Nigeria was able to clear the corner away, but only because defender William Troost-Ekong wrapped his arms around Mandzukic, preventing him from attacking the ball. Troost-Ekong was given a yellow card, and Modric whipped the ball into the lower corner of the goal on the ensuing penalty kick.

Despite a young, speedy and guile-filled team, Nigeria continued to look ponderous on the ball, and never seriously threatened to claw a goal back.

Croatia’s golden generation is taking advantage of what is likely their last chance to advance deeply into a tournament, while Nigeria, the youngest team at the World Cup, look like they might be four years away.

Top Stories

UK support for Johnson’s Conservatives falls as COVID deaths rise

  Three opinion polls released in Britain on Saturday showed support falling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party, as public confidence in the government's...

Fujifilm says COVID-19 drug research may drag on into July

  Fujifilm Holdings Corp's research on Avigan, also known as Favipiravir. as a potential treatment for COVID-19 may drag on until July, the company said...

‘A part of history’: calm prevails at protests in Washington and other cities

  Tens of thousands of demonstrators amassed in Washington and other U.S. cities on Saturday demanding an end to racism and brutality by law enforcement,...

Fine and sunny, temperatures of 38 C inland

  It will be another fine, sunny day today with temperatures slightly higher than yesterday as weak low pressure and a warm air mass affect...

Britain’s Banksy depicts U.S. flag on fire in Floyd tribute

  Reclusive British street artist Banksy published a new artwork online on Saturday which depicts the United States flag being set alight by a candle...

Taste

Poulles (Υoung kolokassi)

Either you thrash the coriander seeds in a mortar, without making them into dust, or you gradually crush them in a blender. Remove the edges...

Pork cooked in wine

Crush the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar or pulse-blend in a blender, taking care not to over-grind. Put the meat in bowl (not...

Lefkaritikos tavas – O ‘protinos’

Wash and dry the meat and rice separately. In a ‘tava’ (oven proof deep clay pot) first put a layer of five-six pieces of meat...

Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...