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On this day: Croatia’s incredible World Cup journey begins

Croatia celebrates against Nigeria (Photo: HNS)

16 June 2019 – Exactly one year ago today the most incredible story in Croatian sport history began. 

On the 16th of June 2018, Croatia opened their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 over Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium in Russia.

An own-goal on the half hour and a Luka Modrić penalty was enough to send Croatia to the top of Group D after Argentina and Iceland drew earlier in the day.

Zlatko Dalić named Croatia’s most attacking starting lineup ever at a major tournament, starting with four attacking players – Ante Rebić, Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić and Mario Mandzukić – in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Croatia lines up for the opening match of the 2018 World Cup (Photo: HNS)

With a big contingent of Croatian fans from all over the world in the stands, Croatia were control of the match with the result never in doubt. 

The victory set the tone for what would be a truly memorable month for Croatia in Russia. 

Modrić makes it 2.0 from the spot (Photo:HNS)

Croatia 2-0 Nigeria

Group D, Kaliningrad Stadium Kaliningrad
16 Jun 2018 – 21:00 Local time

GOALS: Etebo 32′ OG, Modric 70′ (P)

CROATIA: Subasic – Strinic, Lovren, Vida, Vrsaljko, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Rebic (Kovacic 80′), Kramaric (Brozovic 60′), Mandzukic (Pjaca 85′)

Modrić and Subašić (Photo: HNS)

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