Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal and Luka Modric goal from the spot gave Croatia a winning start in their World Cup campaign.
Croatia tagged by many as dark horses for the tournament were in control for much of the game, and took a deserved lead into the interval before Luka Modric tucked home a second-half penalty to wrap up three crucial early points in the tournament.
There may have been an element of fortune about the opening goal as Mario Mandzukic’s header was deflected into his own net by Oghenekaro Etebo after 32 minutes, but it was the least Croatia deserved as Nigeria failed to rise to the occasion.
The Super Eagles offered little of note going forward, with Chelsea’s Victor Moses resorting to a number of theatrical falls while Alex Iwobi was taken off after a quiet hour of football for the Arsenal playmaker.
Croatia kept pressing for another goal to make the game safe, and they got their reward from the penalty spot after Leon Balogun inexplicably wrestled Mandzukic to the floor at a corner with 19 minutes remaining.