2018 World Cup Preview – Iceland

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The darlings of Euro 2016, Iceland come into the World Cup ready to cause more boilovers and will have a baptism of fire for their tournament debut.

Iceland World Cup Betting Markets

Stage of Elimination

  • Group Stage @ $1.25
  • Round of 16 @ $5.00
  • Quarter Final @ $15.00
  • Semi Final @ $29.00
  • Runners Up @ $81
  • Winners @ $126.00

Draw

Group:

Iceland have been drawn in Group D alongside Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria

Opponents:

Record vs Argentina – Never Played

Record vs Nigeria – W: 1, D: 0, L: 0

Last Meeting – 22 August 1981: Iceland def Nigeria 3-0

Record vs Croatia – W: 1, D: 1, L: 4

Last Meeting – 11 June 2017: Iceland def Croatia 1-0

Schedule:

Saturday 16th June – 11:00pm – Iceland vs Argentina

Saturday 23rd June – 1:00am – Iceland vs Nigeria

Wednesday 27th June – 4:00am – Iceland vs Croatia

Group Ranking:

Iceland find themselves in a three way battle with Croatia and Nigeria, both strong competitors in their own right, to try and grab that second spot in the group behind Argentina.

While the more optimistic sections of the fan base may be dreaming of a slow start by Argentina opening the door for an unlikely finish on top of Group D, their first goal should be to pick up maximum points against the other two and take care of their own business.

We saw two years ago the danger of underestimating a side like Iceland and they will be ready to make the most of the country’s first time on football’s biggest stage.

Back Iceland to Win Group D @ $11.00

World Cup History

Number of Appearances

Never Qualified – Making Their Debut

2018 Qualifying Campaign

Made the World Cup by…

Iceland finished on top of UEFA Qualifying Group I, giving them direct passage to Russia.

Qualifying Record & Goals Tally

Played: 10, Won: 7, Drawn: 1, Lost: 2

Scored: 16, Conceded: 7

Story to Watch

For a long time, Iceland’s most notorious sporting moment came in D2: The Mighty Ducks when “The Vikings” played the villains to the heroic USA Mighty Ducks with a coach nicknamed The Dentist, while their current coach is actually a dentist.

In 2016 however the world was captivated by the tiny country’s exploits in Euro where they went on an improbable quarter final run in their tournament debut.

Adopted by many as a second team for the tournament in Russia, can they produce another string of upsets?

Iceland World Cup Team

GOALKEEPERS

Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram

DEFENDERS

Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson

MIDFIELDERS

Johan Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Sameul Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarson

FORWARDS

Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson

Strengths

The hardest working group in Iceland’s squad will be the defenders that are lead by captain Aron Gunnarson.

While they became known for a close, direct style of play during the Euros, they will be looking to expand their style of play but it all begins with those defenders doing their job first.

Weakness

Injuries have ravaged Iceland’s attacking stocks with severe questions over where their goals will come from.

With the way they set up they will not need to score too many goals in their games if they are going to be successful but even that one goal might be hard to find.

Notable Absentees

Key forward from their Euro 2016 squad Kolbeinn Sigthorsson is the biggest Icelandic name to miss out on the 2018 World Cup squad.

Key Player

Gylfi Sigurdsson

The Everton midfielder will carry a lot of the playmaking burden which could be a real challenge on his injured knee.

He has not played for Everton since March 10 and will struggle to be match fit when their campaign kicks off over three months after his last competitive outing.

On his game he is the most talented player in the side and will be key should they progress.

Final Prediction

Iceland’s tight and compact style is set up well for a World Cup with an emphasis on keeping the ball in front of them and frustrating the opposition.

They will not win any style points however that setup can be very dangerous if they get off on the right foot.

If they can limit the damage in their first game against Argentina they will be in a strong position to qualify by winning their second and third games before a likely round of 16 tie against France.

PREDICTION: QUARTER FINALS

Best Bet: Argentina and Iceland to Qualify from Group D @ $5