Nigeria vs Iceland: Predictions, Odds and Betting Tips
22nd June 2018 – 16.00 GMT
Group D – Volgograd Arena, Volgograd – TV: RTE
Nigeria and Iceland both go in search of their first win at the World Cup finals when they play at the Volgograd Arena on Friday afternoon. The Super Eagles slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Croatia in their opener while the Icelandics stunned Argentina by holding the two-time winners to a 1-1 draw.
Nigeria will be frustrated to have begun their campaign in such poor fashion and are now up against it to qualify. With Argentina to come in their final match, they probably need to beat Iceland to have any hope of reaching the knockout stages of the tournament for the second World Cup finals in a row.
But Heimir Hallgrimsson’s men were outstanding in their opening game against Lionel Messi and his team mates. Not only sturdy at the back, Iceland were a threat at the other end of the pitch as they replicated their European Championships heroics of two years ago.
Both teams go into the game in poor form; Nigeria have lost four of their last five while their opponents are without a victory in seven. Despite that, going on what has been shown so far in Russia, it’s hard to look past Iceland winning this at 21/10.
Nigeria could find no way past the Croatian defence in their first game at the finals but Zlatko Dalic’s backline barely had to be anywhere near their best. Much has been made of the speed in the Super Eagles’ attack but there was no sign of that in Kaliningrad. They’ve now scored just twice in their last five matches.
On the bright side, Nigeria won’t have to deal with the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic against Iceland. What they will come up against, though, is a very well-drilled, cohesive unit which kept Messi at bay.
Iceland have only failed to score once in their last 10 and it’s hard to see Nigeria bucking that trend. A 2-0 Iceland win is at an attractive 12/1.
Just one of Nigeria’s last six matches has seen more than two goals scored, with the Super Eagles failing to breach the defences of Serbia and the Czech Republic – as well as Croatia – so far in this calendar year.
Iceland will continue to play their own style of football throughout this competition regardless of the opponents. Don’t expect them to come out all guns blazing on Friday afternoon. They conceded just seven goals over the course of qualifying, playing against the likes of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Under 2.5 goals is at 8/15.
- Nigeria have won only one of their last 13 matches at the World Cup finals
- In Nigeria’s last seven World Cup defeats, they have conceded first –
- Iceland to score first – 21/20
- Iceland have only failed to score in one match since September 2017
- Alfred Finnbogason has netted in his last three Iceland appearances –
- Finnbogason to score first – 9/2
- Iceland didn’t have a shot on goal in the second half of their draw with Argentina
Iceland 3-0 Nigeria – International Friendly – 22nd August, 1981
World Cup Qualifiers
Nigeria have now qualified for their fifth of the last six World Cups – only missing out in 2010 – and have re-established themselves as one of Africa’s strongest sides.
Many Nigerian stars will be familiar to fans of England’s Premier League with John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses and Wilfred Ndidi all in the ranks of Salisu Yusuf’s side. They qualified by topping a tough group featuring Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
Top Goalscorers in Qualifiers
Victor Moses – 3 Goals
Alex Iwobi – 2 Goals
Iceland – population 330,000 – are the least populated nation to ever reach the World Cup finals and will be hoping to continue their success following their 2016 European Championships quarter final progression.
Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side topped their tricky qualification group, which also included Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey with a talented side, including Everton playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Top Goal Scorers in Qualifiers
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 4 goals
Alfred Finnbogason – 3 goals
Goalkeepers – Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram.
Defenders – Kari Arnason, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Hordur Magnusson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson.
Midfielders – Johann Berg Gudmondsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Aron Gunnarsson, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Emil Halfredsson, Arnor Ingvi Traustason.
Forwards – Alfred Finnbogason, Albert Gudmondsson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson.
Goalkeepers – Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
Defenders – Leon Balogun, Bryan Idowu, William Troost-Ekong, Abdullahi Shehu, Kenneth Omeruo, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem.
Midfielders – Jon Obi-Mikel, Joh Ogu, Joel Obi, Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo.
Forwards – Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo, Simeon Nwankwo.
16:00 – Volgograd Stadium