The Super Eagles last won their opening game at the tournament in 1998 and the midfielder is hoping for a change in fortune against the Blazers

John Obi Mikel is expecting a ‘tough’ encounter when Nigeria square up against Croatia on Saturday.

The Super Eagles open their 2018 Fifa World Cup campaign on Saturday and they face Zlatko Dalic’s men at the Kaliningrad Arena.

And team captain Mikel believes, although they can match a fantastic Croatia side, the tie will not be a stroll in the park.

“Croatia are a fantastic team with fantastic players, but we have good players too,” Mikel was quoted as saying on ESPN.

“It’s going to be a game of tactics. We have to play our game and make sure we control the game like we always do.

“It’s going to be tough, but we know how we play and how we want to play, so we are going to have to continue playing that way.”

Gernot Rohr’s men have been less than convincing in their build-up to the tournament, losing to Serbia, England, Czech Republic and sharing the spoils with DR Congo.

“When people say you can’t do something, you want to prove them wrong,” he continued.

“We have no pressure. We want to do exactly what we want to do. We put pressure on ourselves to do well because we want to do well.”

Nigeria last won their opening game at the global tournament in 1998 against Spain, and will be hoping they match the feat when face the Fiery Ones on Saturday.


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