Croatia vs. Iceland
|Date & Time||Tuesday June 26, 2018, 2:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Croatia -123 / Draw +256 / Iceland +361 -- Over/Under: 2
We have some Group D World Cup action from the Rostov Arena on Tuesday as Iceland takes on Croatia.
Iceland comes into this match in do or die mode after claiming just 1 point through their first two matches following a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Nigeria in their last outing. Iceland looked poised for a 2nd draw at the half, however Nigeria’s Ahmed Must had different ideas, striking twice in a span of 26 minutes, first in the 49th minute and again in the 75th minute to deal a massive blow to the Vikings. Iceland had a chance to pull one back thanks to a VAR assisted penalty, but Gylfi Sigurdsson skied it above the bar to nix all chances at an Icelandic comeback. Nigeria had the edge over Iceland statistically, out possessing the Vikings 56%-44%, and outshooting Iceland 16-10 with 4 shots on target to Iceland’s 3.
Croatia on the other hand has top spot in the group in their sights after winning both of their first two matches, including a 3-0 win over Argentina that can be argued as one of the biggest in the national side’s history. This match also looked to be a scoreless stalemate at the half, however Ante Rebic broke the deadlock after a brutal miscue from the Argentinian goalkeeper in the 53rd minute. Luka Madrid doubled the advantage in the 80th minute before Ivan Rakitic sealed the deal with a 3rd Croatian goal in 2nd half stoppage time. Croatia was out possessed by Argentina 58%-42%, but outshot the Argentinians 15-10, and 6-3 in terms of shots on goal.
These two sides have quite the head-to-head history against the other, including being in the same World Cup qualifying group for this year’s tournament. In qualifying, each side logged a clean sheet victory over the other, with Croatia winning 2-0 back in 2016 and Iceland winning the return leg 1-0 in June of last year.
Croatia were stellar against Argentina to say the least, as the defence kept the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero under lock. As far as this game goes however, the only team that can catch Serbia is Nigeria, and even if Croatia lose this game, Nigeria would have to beat Argentina by at least 3-4 goals which if we are being realistic, probably won’t happen, but you never know. Still, Croatia are already through to the round of 16 so I’m not expecting a full out effort while Iceland has no choice but to win this game if they want to have any chance of qualifying, and given the price we are getting with the Vikings, I think they are definitely worth a look given the circumstances.