Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić has admitted that their opening game against Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup is the most important match for them in Group D.
Zlatko Dalic was appointed Croatia coach following the sacking of Ante Cacic ahead of their crunch World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in October.
''Nigeria is not a typical African national team, they have Mikel as a captain and a young, powerful player,'' Dalic said to Istinom do gola, according to Sportske Novosti .
''They are fast, agile, will not be easy, but if the plan to go through we have to beat them.''
Assuming Croatia or Nigeria finish second in Group D, there is a huge probability that they will face one of the pre-tournament favorites in the form of France in the round of sixteen.
''I said already, it's not easy, but it could be harder. However, I say that the priority is to go to the second round, the knockout competition. If we do not get it, it would be a failure,'' added the 51-year-old coach.
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