Today’s Predictions: Nigeria Vs Iceland
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African nation Nigeria take on European ‘Giant Killers’ Iceland in their second match, as both teams would be looking for their first victory in the tournament so far.
- Date : 22nd June 2018
- Time : 8:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : Volgograd Stadium
In the 25th match of the tournament, John Obi Mikel’s Nigeria will take on a spirited Icelandic side who are fresh after a brilliant result against Argentina in their debut World Cup match.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Nigeria had to wade their way through a very tricky group containing Algeria, Zambia and Cameroon. The Green Eagles dominated through the group stage with 14 points, and gave an entire nation hope for a good showing at the World Cup 2018.
Iceland had a relatively easier time during the qualifying phase. Grouped with Croatia and Turkey, their best hope before the qualifiers began was to secure a playoff spot. However, their players never lost hope and continued fighting till the penultimate match day, where a stunning 3-0 upset over Turkey ensured that they top their group.
Nigeria have been in comparatively poor form of late. Despite an amazing 4-2 win against Argentina last November, followed by an impressive 1-0 win against Poland, they could not keep up the momentum and have been winless their last 4 matches, including damaging defeats against Serbia and Czech Republic.
Iceland have been in poor form of late. Despite a healthy qualifying campaign where they topped their group, they have managed just 1 win in their last 6 matches, that too against Indonesia. Consecutive defeats against Mexico, Peru and Norway have put their World Cup credentials in doubt.
Nigeria and Iceland in the World Cup So Far
Iceland shocked the world with a brilliant 1-1 draw against Argentina, despite falling behind to a Sergio Aguero goal early on. They never gave up and earned a credible draw to show that they are more than capable of playing against the top sides in the world.
Nigeria suffered a disappointing defeat to Croatia in a match where they were completely outplayed. This is a must win match for them if they want to have any hopes of qualifying further.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have never against played each other in a recognized match before.
Nigeria have several current and ex Premier League players in their starting 11, a testament that the team does have the winning mentality instilled in it’s core members. The team’s morale and belief in each other has often carried them past all kinds of hurdles, and they would be aiming to cause an upset and move to the next round.
Iceland have a few injury troubles themselves. Star man Gylfi Sigurdsson has declared himself fit but is still coming back after a lengthy knee injury. Their star forward in the successful Euro 2016 campaign, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson has been ruled out as he has been struggling since September 2016. Their captain, Aron Gunnarsson is also a doubt with a minor knee injury.
Players To Watch Out For
Nigeria have several Premier League mainstays carrying them for the past few years. Captain John Obi Mikel is nothing less than a Chelsea legend, having won every trophy at the club in his 9 years there. Chelsea winger Victor Moses is in stellar form and always ups his game during international tournaments. Youngsters Alex Iwobi and Iheanacho can also show the world what they are capable of.
Iceland have pretty much got the same squad which led them to an incredible run at Euro 2016. Their best player is Gylfi Siggurdson, one of the most talented midfielders in the Premier League, and he would again be looking to play a decisive part. Alfred Finnbogason is also a vital cog in their attack.
Nigeria Vs Iceland Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- Both these teams are equally stacked, as far as the world cup betting odds are concerned, with Iceland just slight favourites. A goalless draw would be a good value bet as well.
- Iceland are playing in their first ever FIFA World Cup, and their excellent showing at Euro 2016 where they beat England to reach the quarters, has made people stand up and notice them each time they turn out to play.
- Nigeria have a decent attack and a strong midfield, but a comparatively weaker defence and that’s where Iceland can hurt them.
- Iceland have a strong defence but do not score many goals. Hence, we recommend betting on the under 2.5 goals market, and the both teams not to score market.
Iceland have made a reputation of holding their own against teams ranked much higher than them, and though a draw has favourable odds, we expect them to achieve a narrow victory in this much anticipated match.
Our Predicted Scoreline: Nigeria 0 – 1 Iceland