Liverpool defender, Dejan Lovren, is world-class, but can also be no-class! He is also jittery with the ball at his feet and can be pressured into making elementary mistakes.
This is the main reason the Eagles have a chance to score – that is if they move the ball quickly.
Eagles score twice to get good result
It can be said with a great degree of assuredness that if the Eagles score twice against Croatia on Saturday, they will have a good chance of getting at least a point off the better-ranked Croats.
The only game in which Croatia has scored more than two goals in their last 15 encounters was against Greece last November. In those 15 games, they scored 15 goals – an average of one goal per game. In that time, they have won seven, lost six, and drawn two.
Keep it tight for first 20 minutes
If it means deploying more players in the Eagles’ half of the pitch – so be it. The Eagles must ensure they do not concede any goal in the first quarter of the game in Kaliningrad on June 16. Just as it transpired 24 years ago against Bulgaria, the Eagles must try their best to keep the Croats at bay, as they will start very fast.
Play Nwankwo as main striker
This might sound odd but the gangly striker has a better chance against the Croats because he is an unknown quantity and will want to prove a point.
Play Etebo as part of midfield four
I am suggesting a tweak to the 4-3-3 formation preferred by Rohr. The 3-4-3 provides more attacking thrust while employing the use of John Ogu’s midfield skills in a back three.
Try not to concede many corner kicks
“Nigeria are suspect from high balls so we used that to our advantage after we noticed it against England before our game against them,” Czech Republic Karel Jarolim said after his team beat Nigeria 1-0.
Against England, the Eagles were at sixes and sevens as they conceded corner after corner. They must be wary of doing that against Croatia, who boast good headers of the ball.