Rakitic says Croatia win vs Nigeria helped to World Cup final – Football

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Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has implied that their group stage win over the Super Eagles of Nigeria helped them to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria came up short and lost 2-0 in their opening group game after an own goal from Stoke City midfielder Oghenakaro Etebo.

A penalty converted by captain Luka Modric guaranteed the victory after William Troost-Ekong fouled Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic.


After consecutive defeats in their friendly encounters in the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Super Eagles will hope they have addressed all issues ahead of their opener against Croatia on Saturday, June 16.
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Croatia advanced to the final of the World Cup (Twitter/Croatia)

 

In a report by the Guardian, Rakitic believes that the victory against a strong African opposition gave them the momentum they maintained throughout the course of the competition.

Rakitic on Nigeria

In the report, Rakitic said after the game against Nigeria he and his teammates said,  “maybe we’ll be OK” in response to if the win in their opening game propelled them to the final.


Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric and Mikel Obi
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The Super Eagles suffered in midfield against Rakitic and Modric (Jamie Squire Getty Images)

 

Rakitic also credited their incredible run in the tournament to a morale-boosting victory over a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina in their second group game.

He said, “we had to ensure the ball didn’t reach Messi.”


Here are Twitter reactions as Croatia knocked out hosts Russia 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in 120 minutes in their quarterfinal 2018 FIFA World Cup, clash on Saturday, July 7.
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Croatia were not among the pre tournament favourites (Opta)

 

He then went on to state that they were the better side in the final even though they lost 4-2 to France.

Rakitic is expected to be out of action when reigning LaLiga champions Barcelona take on rivals Atletico Madrid in their next league encounter on Saturday, November 24.

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