Best Odds: 21/10
The variety act that is the World Cup often throws up a handful of surprises, and when it comes to Group D, we’ve already seen our fair share. It was considered to be the Group of Death from the word go and it’s lived up to that reputation thus far, with four more games scheduled to come that will shape the immediate future of all four nations. In this encounter, Nigeria will take on Iceland, in a battle between the two teams who were considered to be the underdogs behind Argentina and Croatia at the start of the tournament.
Nigeria are one of the most successful African nations ever, courtesy of their performances in the AFCON as well as the World Cup. While they may not be amongst the elite in international football they’ve certainly had their moments over the years, although as of late, they’ve struggled. Their opener against Croatia saw them fall to a disappointing 2-0 defeat, and as they look ahead to this one, they’ll know full well that another loss could signal the end of their journey in Russia before it’s even really begun.
Arsenal’s own Alex Iwobi will be expecting to start, with Ahmed Musa & vice-captain Ogenyi Onazi expecting to make appearances in the starting XI.
While we’re all busy calling Iceland the ultimate underdogs of the World Cup, they’re busy picking up results against big sides and proving that they’re here to stay. From top to bottom they’ve got a solid core throughout their squad, and despite not possessing the best players from an ability standpoint, they’ve got the heart and determination that’ll take them far. They’re coming into this game with plenty of momentum, too, after managing to pick up a point against Argentina.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson picked up a muscle injury against Argentina which will likely rule him out of this one, with Rurik Gislason being the man who is tipped to replace him.
Factors to Consider
- In their only meeting back in 1981, Iceland defeated Nigeria 3-0.
- Iceland have won one, drawn two and lost three of their last six games.
- Nigeria have won one, drawn one and lost four of their last six games.
- Iceland’s final group stage game will be against Croatia on Tuesday.
- Nigeria’s final group stage game will be against Argentina on Tuesday.
Iceland are well known for being the ultimate underdogs of international football, but the question remains as to what they’re able to produce when coming up against a team that are more on their level. Nigeria may not have kicked off their campaign in the best way but they still possess a lot of interesting attacking threats, and Iceland need to prepare themselves for that. We think this will be an extremely hard-fought affair between two teams desperate to stay in the tournament, and our official prediction is 1-1. Still, don’t be surprised if this one turns into a cagey affair.
Best Odds: 21/10