Former coach of the Spanish national team Javier Clemente has hit back at the calls made by captain of the Nigerian team John Obi Mikel for Croatia to field their best players against Iceland in their final group game of the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup.
Croatia are already through to the round of 16, hence coach of the team Zlatko Dalic said he will rest his regular players in their final group game against Iceland, who are in need of a win to keep alive their hope of progression out of the group, if the Nigeria and Argentina clash ends in a draw.
Captain of Super Eagles of Nigeria Mikel immediately kicked against the idea and asked Croatia to be professional by fielding their best players despite claims by the coach that he is resting his key men because some are on the brink of suspension.
Clemente who handled Spain at the 1998 World Cup in France where they crash out at the group stage said Nigeria cost them a spot in the round of 16 by fielding a weak squad against Paraguay in their final group game.
Nigeria were already through before the game against Paraguay, who were in need of a win to progress ahead of Spain. Then coach of Nigeria Bora Milutinovic rested his regulars and Paraguay won 3-1 rendering Spain’s result against Bulgaria inconsequential.
“Obi Mikel of Nigeria asks Croatia for sportsmanship and wants them to plays with the regulars. Nigeria in ’98 played with their substitutes against Paraguay and lost, Spain crashed out. That day it seemed sportsmanship was not important”, the coach posted on his verified twitter account.