Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has admitted they must study ‘unknown’ Nigeria to stand a chance of kicking off their campaign on a winning note at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Croatia and Nigeria are in Group D for the World Cup with Argentina and Iceland.
Croatia qualified for the World Cup by defeating Greece 4-1 on aggregate in the play-offs of the European qualifiers while Nigeria were unbeaten from their African qualifying zone, topping their group which had Algeria, Zambia and Cameroon with 14 points from six games.
Dalic, who took over from of Ante Cacic in October, is also wary of the coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr who is a German.
“The Nigerians are an unknown team and we have to study them well, they are the first in their qualifying group without defeat, they are young, with the German leader at the helm. We have time to prepare everything, including the choice of camp,” Dalic told Croatia’s Football Federation offcial website hns-cff.hr.
“We will start to analyse the team and be ready for the World Cup, and the most important thing is for our players to be healthy and true, and we will be looking for friendly rivals outside Europe, from Africa, because we all know most about Europeans. Argentina, but our strategy has to come down to strong rivals and strong matches.
“It is a great pleasure and honour to be among the 32 best teams in the world, but that is Croatia and deserves everything that it has.
“The draw ceremony outcome could be better or worse. Argentina is one of the best teams in the world and Lionel Messi is one of the best players in the world, and playing against the best players in the world will be a great challenge and a great test.
“For the title, but we have to believe in ourselves and our team to play the best we can, and surely we can do a lot.”
Dalic signed a contract with Croatian Football Federation until 2020.