The long awaited moment has come, and the battle ground is the Arena Baltika in Kaliningrad, where the Super Eagles will face Croatia in their Group D opening match at 2000 hours.
Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel says there is nothing to worry about the European side, though he is aware they are going to face very difficult opponents who parade a squad full of stars.
The former Chelsea midfielder revealed that the most tactical team will emerge victorious and has stressed the importance of the Super Eagles dominating the game.
‘’Croatia is a great team. Every team in this championship is good. Believe, here in Russia, there is no team that you can say is the easiest rival,’’ said yesterday.
‘’I said at the beginning that Croatia is great, now I can slightly uphold this claim and say it is – fantastic!
‘’See only the roster of Croatia, they are all big players, it will be a tough match. Somehow, I think it will be a tactical match. We have to control the game, that’s our job.’’
Meanwhile, England goalkeeper, Jack Butland, is tipping Real Madrid star, Luka Modricć, to be the key player for Croatia in today’s opener against Nigeria.
The Stoke City goalie watched from the bench as the Three Lions grinded out a 2-1 win over the Super Eagles at Wembley on June 2.
‘’Nigeria is a good team and nobody would have easy job with them at the start of the tournament, but if Modricć plays as he knows to, if he get some space, he can lead Croatia for the big result,’’ Butland told reporters including Sportske Novosti.
‘’Not just in that game, but even much further. We are talking about one of the best midfielders in the world. He makes the difference.’’
The Super Eagles trained at the match venue, Kaliningrad Stadium, yesterday evening ahead the game.