Iceland vs. Nigeria
|Date & Time||Friday June 22, 2018, 11:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Iceland +173 / Nigeria +192 / Draw +213 -- Over/Under: 2
Nigeria and Iceland meet Friday in World Cup soccer action at Volgograd Arena.
Nigeria is kind of in must win mode after losing its opening match to Croatia, 2-0. Nigeria controlled the match for just 47 percent and got just two shots on goal. Oghenekaro Etebo set things off with an own goal, which couldn’t have provided much confidence for the Super Eagles, and Luka Modric later scored on a penalty kick to seal the fate. For the most part, Nigeria was solid defensively and had its chances to make it an interesting match, but it failed to execute and couldn’t make a game changing play to get back in the match. Nigeria has good athletes and plays well as a team, but this club has been held to one or less goals in each of its last four matches, including back-to-back clean sheets. Nigeria has to find a spark before this tournament gets away from them and they go home in the group stages for the third time in four tries.
Iceland settled for a 1-1 draw against Arengtina, but it was a result that likely felt like a victory. I’m sure nobody gave Our Boys a chance to put up a positive result against a top tier team in terms of talent, but it played good defensively and willed its way to one point. Despite just 27 percent of possession control, Sergio Aguero responded quickly to tie up the match and Hannes Halldorsson did a great job of standing on his head, coming away with countless big saves, including the penalty kick on Lionel Messi. Iceland isn’t the sexiest team in the world and doesn’t have much firepower that’s going to scare an opponent, but this team is gritty, plays hard and simply finds a way to grind games out. If you don’t have a horse in the race, Iceland is one of the more fun teams in the tournament to watch due to its toughness and passion to play together.
There’s no previous meetings between these two sides.
Iceland showed before its match against Argentina that it’s capable of hanging with the big boys, but that draw kind of solidified that this team is more than just a feel good story. The confidence should also be at an all time high. We can’t exactly say the same for Nigeria, who blew a chance to earn a positive result in a manageable match and continues its offensive issues. This feels like a match where Iceland can kind of bully its way to three points and ride this wave of momentum.
I’ll take Iceland for the win.