Nigeria’s first opponents at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia, have confirmed a friendly match with the Teranga Lions of Senegal.
The match is scheduled for June 8 at the Osijek City Garden Stadium, Croatia’s Football Federation confirmed on Thursday.
Croatia will start their World Cup campaign against the Super Eagles of Nigeria on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium. Kaliningrad Stadium.
“Senegal is an excellent preparation for Nigeria and is one of the best African selections,” Zlatko Dalic told the Croatia News website.
“I am sure we will have a great atmosphere in Osijek before leaving for Russia. I believe in Croatia’s strength, and we want to be able to play in Russia with the strongest selections – a match against Senegal fits in our preparation for the World Cup.”
The Super Eagles played Senegal in March 2017 at The Hive Stadium and needed a penalty kick goal from Kelechi Iheanacho in the 83rd minute to force a 1-1 result.
Dalic had described the Super Eagles as dark horses last December.
“The Nigerians are an unknown team and we have to study them well.”
Playing against Senegal in a friendly would give the Croatians a measure of the physicality the West African team possesses.
He continued: “They are the first in their qualifying group without defeat, they are young, with the German leader at the helm. We have time to prepare everything, including the choice of camp.
“We are starting with the analysis to be ready for the World Cup, and the most important thing is for our players to be healthy and true, and we will be looking for friendly rivals outside Europe, from Africa, because we all know most about Europeans. Argentina, but our strategy has to come down to strong rivals and strong matches.”
The Eagles have a friendly lined up against the Czech Republic on June 5 – their last tune-up match before their first ever confrontation with Croatia on June 16.