Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr is wary of the threat the Real Madrid duo of Luka Modrid and Mateo Kovacic as well as Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic will pose when the
Super Eagles play the Vatreni of Croatia in their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup game on June 16 at the 35,000 capacity Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad, Russia.
Rohr believes the three players are the pivot on which coach Zlatko Dalic has built his team on and the Nigeria boss sees that as a clear and considerable area of strength. The Nigeria boss stresses that his Super Eagles must be set up in their opening match to combat “one of the best midfields” in the competition. If fit, Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic look likely to form a formidable triumvirate in central midfield for Croatia at Russia 2018. Add in competition for places from the likes of Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj and Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic, and it is no wonder that this department of Dalic’s team is held in such high regard.
Dalic believes Modric gives the team the fuel to perform on the field.
The coach said: “He is our best player – he’s the engine that makes us go. He’s also a captain who leads by example. He always gives his maximum, he sets high standards with his attitude, aggression and energy on the pitch, and with his behaviour off it.
”While Rakitic has an incredible season in the LaLiga, helping Barcelona set an unbeaten run in the 35 games the has played so far this term, Kovacic is described as the future of the Croatia team, described as an incredible talent.”