21st of June 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Surprise package Iceland are looking to make their first ever World Cup even more memorable by collecting their first victory when they meet Nigeria at Volgograd Arena on Friday. The two nations have never met before on the international stage, Iceland have never qualified for a World Cup before while Nigeria have qualified for five of the last six final tournaments. The Nigerians have qualified from the group stage on three occasions out of five, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Nigeria had a rather disappointing start to the 2018 World Cup, they were expecting a tough match against Croatia but they were not really envisaging a 2-0 defeat. They were unlucky to score an own-goal in the first half, that is true, but overall Croatia looked to be in control of the match, especially after Luka Modric scored from the penalty spot in the second half. Head coach Gernot Rohr will probably choose to stick to the same first eleven, even though he does have some valid replacement options in his squad.
Iceland continue to impress, they had a great final tournament at the 2016 European Championships, then defeated all odds to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and now they held mighty Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their first ever match at a World Cup. Moreover, they fought back from 1-0 down against Argentina after Sergio Aguero had scored, and that makes it even more impressive. At this point Iceland have nothing to lose after such a prestigious result against Argentina, and confidence should be at an all-time high. Johann Berg Gudmundsson picked up a calf injury and will most likely miss Friday's match.
Nigeria: Uzoko - Shehu, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu - Ndidi, Etebo - Iwobi, Mikel, Moses - Ighalo
Iceland: Halldorsson - Saevarsson, Arnason, R. Sigurdsson, Magnusson - Gislason, Gunnarsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason - G. Sigurdsson - Finnbogason
My prediction: Iceland to win 1-0, Nigeria didn't look dangerous at all against Croatia.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Nigeria win - 2.90
Draw - 3.20
Iceland win - 2.70
14th of June 2018
5th of July 2018
After the draw against Argentina we've expected more from Iceland in this game.
It was really even first half and maybe the whole game really but in the end the Africans have shown a slightly more desire and eagerness I think to get to the end victory and that was the difference.
As a whole Iceland were far away of what they've shown couple of years earlier at the European stage and probably the manager change was the reason for that.
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