Rio Olympics bronze medal winning coach, Samson Siasia believes Nigeria’s captain John Obi Mikel is on the same level with Croatia’s duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
The Super Eagles are drawn in the same group with the European football power house, alongside debutants, Iceland and Argentina.
And the former international says the 30-year-old former Chelsea midfielder possess requisite experience to marshall the midfield when both sides clash in their group opening campaign on June 16.
“Mikel is in the same quality with Modric and Rakitic, even though Modric plays in Real Madrid,” he told Goal.
“Mikel has played in Chelsea for many years and he is doing well in the Chinese Super League. I think they will fight for that position on the field of play.”
Having qualified for the World Cup without losing a game, Siasia claims the only problem with most of the players is that they are not playing for big clubs across Europe.
But insisted that if they can play enough test games before the competition kicks off in June, that it will get them ready for any opposition in Russia this summer.
“They’ve done well but the problem is that most of our players are not playing in the big leagues and they don’t get enough playing time, the World Cup is not where to do physical activities,” he continued.
“They need to play friendly games and make sure they understand themselves. The match against Argentina should not be a yardstick though we did very well and we were all surprised.
“However, the World Cup is a different ball game. We know Argentina very well but we don’t understand Croatia and Iceland.
“It’ll be a good thing to get a win and a draw between these two teams [Croatia and Iceland] then I think Argentina will be last get a draw and we will get to the next round.”
Nigeria conquered Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia to reach their sixth World Cup appearance this year.
They have also won three African Cup of Nations titles – their last was in 2013 in South Africa under late coach Stephen Keshi.