Yeni Malatyaspor dynamic midfielder, Azubuike Okechukwu is confident that the Super Eagles can cage Croatia top striker Mario Mandzukic when both nations meet in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup.
The Eagles prospect like many fans around the world watched as Mandzukic helped Juventus claw back to 3-3 on aggregate with a brace against Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg in Spain.
However, the Los Blancos eventually won the tie courtesy of a late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo but for Super Eagles fans – the ariel threat of Mandzukic was terrifying.
The Croat has registered an amazing 10 headed goals in the Champions League but Azubuike believes that the Eagles will have enough to neutralise the former Bayern Munich star in Russia.
“Mandzukic is a great player and I watched him score two fantastic headers against Real Madrid,” he told SportingLife.ng “He is so good with ariel balls but the Eagles can deal with him in Russia.
“If we prevent the ball from getting to him in the air, he won’t be able to score. He is not a dribbler that can do a lot on the pitch. His strength is in the box and we have players that can stop him.”
Nigeria will play in Group D alongside familiar foes Argentina, debutants Iceland and Croatia.