Croatia captain Luka Modric is expecting a tough encounter against Nigeria in their Group D clash at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Croats are pundits’ favourites to beat the Super Eagles in the encounter billed for the Kaliningrad Stadium.

But Modric has high regard for the Super Eagles and has warned his teammates to be wary of their threat.

“We do not think about the Nigerian ranking, but we know their qualities, maybe they are the best African team, they play fast and vertical football, they have very fast strikers, and in the first games there are no big favorites,” the Real Madrid star told reporters on Friday.

“It will be fairly balanced and we will set ourselves up well for the game.

”We know some people have put us as favourites to win the game and we will try to demonstrate that against a good rival. We have worked so hard in training in past few weeks.”

Croatia have never won their opening World Cup game while Nigeria are without a win in their last three opening group games at the World Cup too.

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