World Cup - Group D - Croatia vs Nigeria - Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia - June 16, 2018 Croatia's players celebrate after Nigeria's Oghenekaro Etebo scored an own goal and the first goal for Croatia REUTERS
KALININGRAD, Russia, 17 June 2018: Nigeria suffered from a bit of growing pains on Saturday when the young Super Eagles were schooled in set pieces by Croatia who shot to the top of Group D with a 2-0 win in their World Cup opener.
One of the youngest teams in the tournament with an average of just over 26, the Super Eagles displayed plenty of youthful energy but some of it was misplaced during a physical clash that allowed Croatia to score from set pieces.
Modric scored a second half penalty to secure the win after Croatia went ahead through a first half own goal by Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo which flowed in from a corner kick by the Real Madrid midfielder.
"When you lose a match it is something we don't like but we recognise that Croatia had the better team tonight and my young players made some mistakes," said Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr. "The first goal is coming on a corner, the second one also on a corner and a penalty.
"I think these young players need time to learn, sometime they were a little bit naive on the set pieces but we will work on it."