By Nnamdi Ezekute in Kaliningrad:
Croatian journalists at Friday’s world press conference here in Kaliningrad criticised their national team coach, Zlatko Dalic, and captain Luka Modric for showing a lack of composure as they prepared to face the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their first Russia 2018 World Cup Group D match on Saturday, Completesportsnigeroa.com reports.
In the first session of the press conference, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr and captain Mikel Obi represented the Super Eagles. They fielded questions with smiles, laughter and detail in their responses notwithstanding their seriousness to the admiration of the journalists. But it was a sharp contrast during the Croatian team’s session.
Modric wore a long face throughout the session and was indignant at some questions directed at him especially by Croatian journalists. Dalic, on the the hand, answered with disdain questions that touched on comparison of the Super Eagles to his team.
“Dalic and Modric were tense and nervy in that room and it was like starting tomorrow’s confrontation at a press briefing,” one of the very vocal Croatian journalists told Complete Sports, preferring to be anonymous. “The two only showed the world that Croatia are under pressure going into the Nigeria game and that doesn’t look good for the team. The Nigeria coach and captain were cool and classy in the room.”
Another Croatian newsman, Josip Hercog, admitted that himself was nervous ahead of the Croatia-Nigeria clash but said his team should be professional enough and avoid going under any kind of pressure.
“I am a Croatian, but living and working in Australia,” Hercog said. “I am nervous and I know why. I’m afraid that if we fail to beat Nigeria, our chances of qualifying for the Second Round may have vanished. There is just this feeling that Nigeria is not the kind of opponent you just smile genuinely and feel at ease going into the match.
“Nigeria seem to me an opponent who know the Argentine team better. They even beat Argentina in a friendly and that’s a big plus. It’about who wins the decisive points against Iceland and Argentina if the result goes awry on Saturday. I just hope Croatia get it right against Nigeria.”