WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keeper: HT. Halldorsson, RA. Runarsson, F. Schram
Defence: K. Arnason, AF. Skulason, BM. Saevarsson, SI. Ingason, H. Magnusson, HO. Eyjolfsson, R. Sigurdsson
Midfield: J. Berg, B. Bjarnason, AI. Traustason, E. Hallfredsson, G. Sigurdsson, OI. Skulason, R. Gislason, S. Fridjonsson, A. Gunnarsson
Forward: A. Finnbogason, BB. Sigurdarson, JD. Bodvarsson, A. Gudmundsson
Iceland are one of the two nations making their World Cup debuts this year along with Panama.
They made their first appearance at a European Championships just 2 years ago and exceeded all expectations as they finished above Portugal & Austria in Group F to gain automatic qualification to the round of 16 where they defeated England and reached the quarter finals.
Iceland kept this run of form going through their qualifying campaign and despite being in what was on of the most competitive groups with the likes of Turkey, Ukraine and their World Cup Group D opponents, Croatia.
A playoff place looked their most realistic hope until the penultimate matchday, when they managed a stunning 3-0 win in Turkey and Finland had improbably equalised against Croatia. It left a previously tight group wide open for them to qualify with a 2-0 win over Kosovo three days later and book their place in Russia.
Recent friendly results have been extremely poor, they record 2 wins over Indonesia in Non-FIFA friendlies at the start of the year but if you look at their last 5 official friendlies, they drew one 1-1 with Qatar and lost the other 4 against, Czech Republic, Mexico, Peru & Norway – they conceded 11 and scored just 4 across these fixtures.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
Iceland are unlikely to have the squad depth or quality needed to get beyond the group stage here. They need everyone fit to have a chance and there have been a number of worries leading up to the tournament.
Gylfi Sigurdsson will only just be back from a knee injury and probably not match-fit, while their Euro 2016 centre-forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson has missed out on the squad having barely kicked a ball since sustaining a medial meniscus injury in September 2016. Alfred Finnbogason, another key forward, has also struggled for fitness.
Iceland need at least two of them available and also hope their captain, Aron Gunnarsson, recovers from a knee injury in time – but fitness is not the only issue. A lack of pace across the side, particularly in defence, is another drawback that will be hard to address.
They will most likely be lining up 4-4-2, on average, Iceland are the 2nd tallest team taking part with an average height of 185.8cm and will hope to cause problems by being physical and direct as they were in the Euros 2 years ago.
Halldorsson will start in goal with the back four from right to left; Saevarsson, Arnason, R. Sigurdsson and Magnusson.
Gudmundsson and Bjarnason are the best bets to start in the wide areas with Gunnarsson and talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson playing centrally, whilst Finnbogason and Bodvarsson should be the starting strike partnership.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
While I don’t see them as genuine contenders this year, Argentina they will most likely still win this win Group D, though it may not be plain sailing. The obvious strength for them is the attacking talents they have in abundance but the other areas of the squad really let them down though, there will also be question marks over their mentality coming into the tournament as well, having lost 3 major finals on the spin.
Croatia are capable of causing any side problems on their day and possess some fine players in the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and of course Luka Modric in midfield.
Add Mario Mandzukic up front who has proven himself to be a real handful for many top European teams at club level during his spells with Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid & Juventus. Though they will most likely have to settle for second place in this group they could give the Argentines a run for their money.
Nigeria are an interesting proposition as well, comfortably winning their qualifying group which also featured Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria – the only game they “lost” was for fielding an ineligible player away to Algeria, the match actually finished 1-1 but Algeria were later awarded a 3-0 victory.
They also beat Argentina 4-2 in a recent friendly and made a very good showing in the second half of their match against England at Wembley in their most recent friendly, while they look a little suspect at the back they can cause problems going forward.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group D Fixtures / Results
|Spartak Stadium, Spartak Stadium – June 16, 2018 4:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad – June 16, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod – June 21, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Volgograd Stadium, Volgograd – June 22, 2018 6:00 pm|
|Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg – June 26, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don – June 26, 2018 9:00 pm|
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