Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has admitted that Croatia have a better team on paper and are rated higher than his team, but disclosed that the Nigerian squad will rely on collective fighting efforts to best the European nation on Saturday.
With both teams going head-to-head for their Group D opener in Kaliningrad, Russia on Saturday, Rohr said action on the pitch is often different from paperwork and forecasts by analysts.
Rohr had his first press conference at the World Cup ahead of Nigeria’s opening group D game and he gave a hint on how they will tackle the Croatians who are expected to line up global midfield super stars in Luka Modric, Mateo Kovavic and Ivan Rakitic in midfield.
For now, though, Rohr is keeping everyone guessing on his starting lineup vs Croatia, there was no practice game this morning between the Team A and B, bearing it in mind that the lineup he used yesterday was just a smokescreen.
Croatia are also expected to field Mario Mandzukic in attack alongside Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric or Nikola Kalinic but despite the star studded nature of the Croatian squad, Rohr is optimistic that Nigeria will give a good account of themselves in the game.
He said: “We admire this team, but, we do not plan to watch them when we play against them, we hope to fight. They are all wonderful players playing in biggest teams in Europe.
“On paper with their names, the Croats are much better than us, but, sometimes on the pitch, it could be different. We don’t have their big stars, but, we try to play collectively with our young team.”