Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has admitted that their group stage win over the Super Eagles of Nigeria helped them to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
The Eagles came up short and lost 2-0 in their opening group match after an own goal from Stoke City midfielder Oghenakaro Etebo.
In a report by the Guardian, Rakitic says that the victory against a strong African opposition gave them the drive they maintained throughout the course of the tournament.
In the report, Rakitic believed that after the match against the Super Eagles he and his teammates said, “Maybe we'll be OK” in response to if the win in their opening game propelled them to the final.”
Rakitic also attributed their unbelievable run in the competition to a morale-boosting victory over a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina in their second group match.
He then went on to state that they were the better side in the final even though they lost 4-2 to France.
Rakitic is expected to be out of action when reigning LaLiga champions Barca take on rivals Atletico Madrid in their next league encounter on Saturday, November 24.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago