#WorldCup Day 3: What to look out for

The last game of the day is perhaps the most anticipated with Croatia taking on Nigeria.

The Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will host the opening and final matches of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. Picture: @FIFAWorldCup/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – Saturday will see fans treated to four fixtures throughout the day from with kick-offs from 12 pm through 9 pm.

The last game of the day is perhaps the most anticipated with Croatia taking on Nigeria.

Croatia v Nigeria

Croatia’s Key Players: Ivan Rakitic (Midfielder)
The midfielder will play an important part in Croatia’s World Cup campaign with many expecting a berth into the knockout stages with the talent that they have. Rakitic has made more than 200 appearances for FC Barcelona which is exceptionally impressive for a player his age, let alone getting into a Barcelona team which has featured the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets in the centre of midfield. With 90 international caps to his name alongside captain Luka Modric – Croatia have a more than promising midfield.

Mario Mandzukic (Forward)

The 32-year-old may have one more World Cup left in him, but 2018 may be the World Cup where the experience from previous campaigns and energy at this point in his career intersect. Mandzukic has a more-than-impressive CV with clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus all splashing the cash for the forward’s signature. One-hundred-and-seventy-eight goals in 443 club appearances will be a real threat against the Nigerian defence.

Nigeria’s Key Players: Wilfred Ndidi (Midfielder)

Despite being a youngster coming up the ranks, Wilfred Ndidi has made 17 appearances for his country already. However, his club performances are what may make a difference in his country’s performance at the 2018 World Cup. The defensive midfielder made 83 appearances for KRC Genk, as well as 61 appearances for English club Leicester City – four of which were in the Champions League. Ndidi’s ability to control the midfield against a powerful Croatian attack will help Nigeria contain the threat from Luka Modric and Co.

Ahmed Musa (Forward)
Another player that has links to Leicester City, Ahmed Musa scored five goals in his 33 appearances for the Foxes. However, the majority of the forward’s appearances have come for Russian side, CSKA Moscow, where he scored 61 goals in 184 appearances. In addition to a total of 265 club appearances, Musa has donned the green jersey more than 60 times. If form is on his side, Coach Gernot Rohr will not have to worry about discipline considering the 25-year-old has received just one red card in his first-team career.

Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Nigeria

_France v Australia match preview: _

In the first kick-off of the day, France take on Australia. In a team filled with Ngolo Kante, Antoinne Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, many are expecting France to cruise to victory over the Socceroo’s. Midfielder Aaron Mooy and Captain Mile Jedinak may be able to hold off the French team, however, if France can perform anything to the way Russia performed against Saudia Arabia, Australia may have to resort to damage control.

Prediction: France 3-0 Australia

Argentina v Iceland match preview:
This game has all the makings of a cup classic. Apart from England fans, many football fans have grown fond of Iceland. Following their impressive display at the European championships in 2016 – which included eliminating England from the tournament and a chant which send shivers down any football fan’s spine – it wouldn’t be surprising if Iceland surprised the Argentinians. This may be Lionel Messi’s final opportunity to perform on the world stage, where he has faced a lot of criticism. However, with a team featuring the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina pose a threat and still go into the game as favourites. That’s justified considering the 23-man squad has a value of just below 700 million Euros.

Prediction: Argentina 3-1 Iceland

Peru v Denmark match preview:
A Danish team featuring the likes of Cristian Eriksen and, Leicester City’s, shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel the Peruvians have a tough challenge in containing Eriksen’s attack and breaking down Schmeichel’s defence. However, Edison Flores’ influence from midfield and defender Cristian Ramos’ marshalling will make for a good duel in the 6 pm kick-off.

Prediction: Peru 0 – 1 Denmark

Kick-off times (CAT):
France v Australia 12h00

Argentina v Iceland 15h00

Peru v Denmark 18h00

Croatia v Nigeria 21h00