14th of June 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Lionel Messi's Argentina start their 2018 World Cup campaign with a tricky match, they will face surprise package Iceland at Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow on Saturday. Group D also has Croatia and Nigeria, both dangerous teams as well, so Argentina can't really afford a slow start here. The two nations have never met before in an international football match. Argentina have won the World Cup on two occasions, in 1978 and 1986, and in 2014 they lost in the final against Germany. Iceland, on the other hand, have never qualified for a World Cup final tournament before.
Argentina had a very rough road to the 2018 World Cup and they nearly failed to qualify. Lionel Messi and company ended the 18-match qualification campaign with 19 goals scored and 16 conceded, barely squeezing through thanks to a 3-1 victory in Ecuador in the last match. The warm-up friendlies produced some contradictory results as well, Argentina lost 4-2 to Nigeria and 6-1 to Spain but defeated Italy 2-0. Their squad definitely has enough quality players to compete for the trophy, but we'll have to see if they can really act as a team.
Iceland have surprised everybody at the 2016 European Championships, where they reached the quarter-finals, but then they have proven that it wasn't a fluke. Iceland have qualified for their first ever World Cup by finishing first in their qualification group after having lost just two of their ten matches. However, this year's warm-up friendlies produced rather poor results, just two wins out of six matches and three consecutive defeats before the 2-2 draw against Ghana last time out.
Argentina: Caballero - Salvio, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico - Mascherano, Biglia - Meza, Messi, Di Maria - Aguero
Iceland: Halldorsson - Saevarsson, Ingason, R. Sigurdsson, Magnusson - Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason - G. Sigurdsson - Finnbogasson
My prediction: Argentina to win 1-0, it won't be easy for Messi and his team-mates but they should be able to pull it off.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Argentina win - 1.36
Draw - 5.00
Iceland win - 11.00
20th of June 2018
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The question for me is are Iceland capable of raising their level of performance anywhere near to what they show at EURO2016 and I'm not sure about the answer, should be tough though.
Like Johnny said above it won't be easy for Argentina but they are the huge favs not only for this game but one of the most favorized teams on the finals as a whole so...we all should expect a win for them..I guess.
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