Argentina vs Iceland – Preview, Tips and Betting Predictions
This match is over.
Final score: Argentina 1-1 Iceland
For the next match – Argentina vs Croatia.
For the next match – Nigeria vs Iceland.
16th June 2018 – 14:00 UK Time
Stadium: Otkrytie Arena
Argentina have terrific World Cup pedigree and despite a turbulent qualifying campaign, they arrive in Russia as one of the fancied teams. Jorge Sampaoli’s side almost missed out on automatic qualification for the 2018 World Cup but a Lionel Messi masterclass ensured they would be competing at this tournament. The Argentinian FA have called upon the other players to step up and become less reliant on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner but the Barcelona man is always likely to steal the headlines.
Messi is joined by Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain. The latter has faced criticism in recent years but told reporters that the players always ‘give everything’ for their country.
Iceland rely far less on moments of individual brilliance and their collective spirit was evident during Euro 2016. They weren’t expected to progress beyond the group stage but knocked out England en-route to a quarter-final meeting with France. Heimir Hallgrimsson takes sole charge of the side following the departure of Lars Lagerback and they showed plenty of determination to secure qualification for this tournament.
This will be the first time that these two teams have played one another. Iceland hosted Peru and travelled to Mexico at the end of March and lost both games, conceding three goals in each of those matches.
Argentina didn’t fare any better and will need to be significantly better than when losing 6-1 to Spain in an international friendly at the end of March. Questions remain over their defence, although, they only conceded 16 times in 18 qualifying games.
Argentina vs Iceland Predictions
Argentina are expected to breeze through the group stages of the tournament. The 2014 finalists have been drawn alongside Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland and neither of these three teams are expected to knock La Albiceleste off top spot. Iceland have a collective spirit and should battle admirably throughout the 90 minutes but inevitably fall short.
The South American side are 1/3 with bwin to pick up three points in their opener and they are likely to be a staple of first week accumulators at the World Cup. Punters who are looking for a bigger price may be tempted by Argentina to be winning at half time and full time, which is Evens with 10Bet.
It’s also Evens for Argentina -1 on the handicap market with 10Bet.
Iceland could restrict the opportunities for Argentina and they are likely to try and mark Lionel Messi out of the game. If they succeed, it could be a low-scoring game and may be settled by a single goal. Under 2.5 Goals is considered a likely outcome and can be backed at 7/10 with 888Sport.
A narrow victory for Argentina would ease any nerves at the beginning of the tournament. A 2-0 success would be considered a decent start to the 2018 World Cup and is the likeliest outcome. It can be backed at 54/13 with 10Bet.
All eyes are likely to be on Lionel Messi at this tournament. He scored four times during the 2014 World Cup and is 11/5 with 888Sport to score the first goal for his country at this year’s tournament.
- Argentina have won the FIFA World Cup on two occasions but haven’t been successful since 1986.
- They have only missed four World Cups since the tournament began in 1930
- In 2014, they were runners-up at the tournament for the third time.
- They rarely fail to reach the knock-out rounds. 2006 was the last time that they failed to negotiate the group stage
- This will be Lionel Messi’s fourth World Cup – he failed to find the net in 2010.
Lionel Messi to Finish as Top Tournament Goalscorer (9/1 with Betfred)
- Iceland are making their debut at the FIFA World Cup
- They have endured 12 failed qualification campaigns throughout their history
- They are the smallest nation by population to ever feature at the tournament.
Why Should I Bet On Argentina Against Iceland?
Argentina may have one of the best players in the history of the game and an attacking line as strong as anyone in world football, but there’s still uncertainty about their credentials. Jorge Sampaoli’s men needed a Lionel Messi hat-trick in their final match of CONMEBOL qualification to ensure they made Russia. And friendly thrashings at the hands of Nigeria and Spain since haven’t improved matters.
Little Iceland won hearts with their European Championship run two years ago but a talented French side eventually put five past them. With Heimir Hallgrimsson’s men not in great form either, the South Americans should have too much firepower for them, and Argentina are 3/10 to win with William Hill.
Lionel Messi to score first
Where would Argentina be if it wasn’t for Lionel Messi? His hat-trick against Ecuador may have got his country to the finals but he scored seven goals in all, including vital winners against Chile and Uruguay, without which his teammates would be lazing it up on a beach this summer.
At 30 years old, the Barcelona superstar may only have a couple more chances left to win a World Cup so his motivation will be very high. At the last tournament in Brazil, he netted four times in the group stages, including an injury-time winner against a tenacious underdog in Iran. At 9/4 for Messi to score first with William Hill, it’s a price that’s hard to turn down.
Despite finishing their qualifying campaign with four out of five clean sheets, against the likes of Croatia and Ukraine, Iceland’s defence has folded since the start of the calendar year. They conceded three against Mexico, Peru and Norway before drawing 2-2 with Ghana in their final warm-up game.
Luckily for them, Argentina scored just 19 times in 18 games themselves during qualification – the same amount as Venezuela who finished bottom of the South American section. The Albiceleste beat Iran, Switzerland and Belgium 1-0 on their way to the final in Brazil four years ago. Another single goal, clean sheet win for Argentina is at 19/5 with William Hill.
Argentina: Nahuel Guzmán, Gabriel Mercado, Nicolás Tagliafico, Cristian Ansaldi, Lucas Biglia, Federico Fazio, Éver Banega, Marcos Acuña, Gonzalo Higuaín, Lionel Messi (captain), Ángel Di María, Franco Armani, Maximiliano Meza, Javier Mascherano, Manuel Lanzini, Marcos Rojo, Nicolás Otamendi, Eduardo Salvio, Sergio Agüero, Giovani Lo Celso, Paulo Dybala, Cristian Pavón, Willy Caballero.
Iceland: Hannes Þór Halldórsson, Birkir Már Sævarsson, Samúel Friðjónsson, Albert Guðmundsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Ragnar Sigurðsson, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Björn Bergmann Sigurðarson, Gylfi Sigurðsson, Alfreð Finnbogason, Frederik Schram, Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, Kári Árnason, Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson, Ólafur Ingi Skúlason, Aron Gunnarsson (captain), Hörður Björgvin Magnússon, Rúrik Gíslason, Emil Hallfreðsson, Arnór Ingvi Traustason, Jón Daði Böðvarsson, Ari Freyr Skúlason.