Group D: Iceland v Croatia - soccer world cup Preview

Two players compete for ball

Our football guru, Aaron Crowie, previews the matchup between Iceland and Croatia on Tuesday the 26th of June 2018. 

On Tuesday evening Iceland will aim to be the first team to find the back of the net against Croatia, let alone take points off the Vatreni. Mathematically speaking, the Croats are already assured passage to the next round but they will be need at least a point to secure top spot.

Iceland are still in with a chance of progressing to the last 16, and I can guarantee you their fans will be working as a 12th man to get the job done.

Iceland vs Croatia | Group D | Kaliningrad Stadium | Tuesday 26 June | 20:00

To Win (90 Mins) 
Iceland 24/10
Draw 47/20
Croatia 11/10 

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Iceland failed to take advantage of Argentina’s nightmare 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Croatia with the soccer world cup debutants suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Nigeria courtesy of a second half double from Super Eagles forward, Ahmed Musa.

Iceland went into the game having already kept Lionel Messi at bay, whilst showing immense fighting spirit to come from a goal down to earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw against two-time soccer world cup winners Argentina.

The smallest nation (by population) to ever qualify for the prestigious tournament are still in with a shout but must overcome a fiery Croatia side, who have brushed aside Nigeria and Argentina with ease. However, they definitely have the capabilities of upsetting the applecart, especially if the group leaders take their foot off the peddle.

Croatia have all but secured qualification to the round of 16 after humbling Argentina 3-0 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. The victory over Argentina was the first win in five attempts against a South American team at the soccer world cup, having lost the previous four.

Prior to that impressive win, they claimed what looked to be a routine 2-0 win over the Nigerians. If you tally that up, the Vatreni have found the back of the net five times in two matches without conceding – thus giving their football-crazed country hope of a first ever world championship. 

Croatia might be guaranteed a spot in the last 16 but they aren’t a banker to top the group. They will need a draw to ensure they remain at the summit of group D. 

Luka Modric’s stats against La Celeste prove that he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – central midfielder in the world. The Real Madrid superstar had 100% take-ons completed (2/2), 100% aerial duels won (3/3), 62 touches, 42 passes, three interceptions, two chances created, two shots and one cracking goal – definitely one of the standout players at this year’s showpiece. 

Verdict: Croatia (11/10) 
I’m not expecting an exciting contest. Iceland aren’t a team that can play attacking football and with Croatia needing just a point, I highly doubt we will see end-to-end action. H

owever, the log-leaders are likely to absorb whatever pressure Iceland can throw at them and should counter-attack with pace and power like they have been. Back Croatia to come away with a narrow victory and top the group with maximum points. 

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