The game started in an even manner. Croatian quality edge did not show much for the first 30mins of the game.
Nigeria conceeded an unfortunate own-goal through a corner, which was always an area of weakness, considering their inexperienced back line. Remember they have the youngest team to the tournament.
Surprisingly, they were organised pretty good from the back. Looked like they put too much not to concede that it was difficult to give Croatia trouble going forward. The few times they did, Croatia had problems curtailing them which was evident from the number of corner-kicks Nigeria won.
Again, at this level, the bench is very key. Leaving Mikel Obi on the pitch for 80mins did not help the team. Injecting pace into the game through introducing Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa caused Croatia sorts of problem, but as always, their quality and experience was the difference.
Croatia did an excellent job of managing Nigeria’s threats and found a way to win the game. Once they got the second goal, again caused by inexperienced defending and resultant penalty kick, it was always going to be tough to come back into the game.
All hope is not lost in Nigeria team if they’re able to check these lapses and comeback with more hunger for their second game.