Nigeria vs. Iceland
MATCH UP STATS
Nigeria vs. Iceland
Outright World Cup odds:Nigeria: $751 @ WilliamHill.comIceland: $81 @ WilliamHill.com
Friday, June 22 – 9:00p.m Local time – Volgograd Arena, Volgograd, Russia.
Nigeria know plenty will be at stake when they step up against Iceland in their penultimate match of Group D of the 2018 FIFA World Cup currently underway in Russia.
The Super Eagles are under compounded pressure to win, so much for their deflating loss in the opening match, as it is for the unpredictable nature of the other group match between Argentina and Croatia.
Zlatko Dalic’s charges head into the mouthwatering clash with the South American giants as group leaders, having brushed aside Nigeria with a 2-0 victory last Friday. The Super Eagles headed into the match with the expectation of an entire continent on their shoulders, holding great promise going by their rampant form in the qualifiers that saw them become the first African nation to book their ticket to Russia.
The match itself was however far from a turgid affair, as Nigeria lacked fluidity and rhythm, with much of their play characterised with scuffed shots and miscued passes. Their exhibition was by all accounts poles apart from that of the Croats, who showed supreme calmness with the assurance of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in the middle of the park, as the attacking duo of Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic made their presence felt in the final third.
The pressure soon paid off, as Oghenekaro Etebo inadvertently drove the ball into his own net to gift Croatia with the lead in the 32nd minute. Even after going behind Nigeria still offered little by way of attacking insight, as Odion Ighalo- their furthest man on the pitch- was reduced to a peripheral figure with limited supply coming his way.
Seemingly unable to stave off competition from the Europeans, Nigeria shot themselves on the foot after William Troost-Ekong gave away a penalty having felled Mandzukic in the danger zone. There was only going to be one outcome when Modric stepped up to take the spot-kick; the Real Madrid midfielder unwittingly converting from twelve yards to round up a much deserved victory for Croatia.
Although Nigeria’s loss to Croatia could have been preconceived- given the considerable difference in their FIFA rankings- the Russian World Cup has already proven than rankings are nothing more than just numbers; numbers which may not always mean as much in the face of adversity.
Prior to Senegal’s triumphant 2-1 win over Poland, no team best personified this analogy than Iceland.
Despite having a first team riddled with part-timers that included five doctors and a film director between the sticks- their most notable player being Gylfi Sigurdsson of Everton- the gushingly talented Argentineans could only manage a 1-1 draw against them.
Argentina made a blistering start with a goal within the opening twenty minutes through a sensational strike by Sergio Aguero, but the soft underbelly of the South Americans was revealed yet again in a major tournament, as Jorge Sampaoli’s side conceded to an Alfred Finnbogason goal just four minutes later.
Worst of all however was Lionel Messi whose frustrating afternoon was epitomized by a missed penalty in the second half. Iceland certainly put up a gutsy performance to earn a well deserved point; one that has them joint second in Group D with the two-time World Champions Argentina.
Nigeria vs. Iceland betting predictions
Despite this being Nigeria’s second of three group games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, their match against Iceland will without question be their final throw of the dice, seeing as their fate will have already been sealed when they line up against Argentina in a week’s time.
As such, the Super Eagles not only need a solid performance, but a landmark victory in order to increase their chances of advancing into the knock out phase. Unlucky for them however, the Nordic side is no easy pushover.
Iceland have defied the odds since making their debut in a major football tournament at the UEFA European Championship two years ago- where they reached the knock out stages- and look set to cause an upset yet again in Russia.
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Iceland to win||+160 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Total goals Under 2.5||-200 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
Nigeria & Iceland recent results
Croatia 2-0 Nigeria (June 16, 2018)
Oghenekaro Etebo 32′ (OG)
Luka Modric 71 (P)
Argentina 1-1 Iceland (June 16, 2018)
Sergio Aguero 19′
Alfred Finnbogason 23′
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