Group D: Argentina vs Iceland - soccer world cup Preview

Two players compete for ball

Aaron Crowie previews the first match in Group D in the soccer world cup which will see Argentina face Iceland at Spartak Stadium.  

There aren’t many overly tough groups but if you had to choose a group of death at the soccer world cup, Group D would be it. Of course, Argentina are favourites to top the standings, followed by Croatia but Iceland proved at Euro 2016 that they are a force to be reckoned with despite their tiny population, while Nigeria certainly have the quality to cause an upset.

However, we’re not here to discuss Group D. This is all about Argentina’s opening clash against Iceland. Let’s get to it!

Argentina vs Iceland | Spartak Stadium | Saturday 16 June (15:00)

To Win Match
Argentina 7/20
Draw 7/2
Iceland 19/2 

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Argentina’s road to the 2018 soccer world cup has been a rocky one to say the least. La Albiceleste left it late, qualifying for the tournament in their final clash against Ecuador with the messiah himself, Lionel Messi, banging in a hat-trick in their 3-1 victory.

Jorge Sampaoli’s men finished third on the CONMEBOL log behind leaders Brazil and second-placed Uruguay with the former finishing 13 points ahead of Argentina. La Albiceleste will know they have their work cut out for them if they are to be crowned 2018 champions of the world and after their disappointment in the 2014 finals – losing out 1-0 to Germany in extra-time – Argentina will be desperate for another shot at the title.

Messi finished the qualifiers as Argentina’s top goalscorer with seven goals and the little maestro will be the focal point of a lethal attacking unit which boasts the likes of Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

Iceland shocked the footballing world after knocking England out of Euro 2016 in the Round of 16 to make the quarter-finals. Their passionate fans will no doubt get behind the team once again when they take on the mighty Argentina.

However, Strakarnir Okkar, as they are affectionately known, topped their qualifying group ahead of Croatia, who were also drawn in Group D. Iceland managed seven wins from 10 matches in their qualifying campaign but have stuttered in friendly/warm up games heading into the prestigious tournament.

Captain Aron Gunnarsson will be looking to lead this well-organised team to glory but that is easier said than done. Their biggest name on the pitch is undoubtedly, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who can turn a game on its head with his delightful set-piece deliveries, vision and ability to create space.

Verdict: Both Halves Under 1.5 Goals 21/20
This one is tough to call but Iceland are solid defensively and with their hard-working team, they know how to frustrate teams – even without the ball. I still believe Argentina will edge it but I’m predicting a tight and cagey affair. Get on the Both Halves Under 1.5 goals market at 21/20. 

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