FIFA WC 2018: Group D- Preview

Group D- Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Well, this is where it starts getting interesting yet complicated. Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria, a group with a lot to offer in terms of their football style and tales of emotions involved in a build-up to the fixtures of this group. With the kind of matches lined up in this group, even the predictions made by football pundits ahead of the start of World Cup might even go wrong.

A Mario Gotze winner in the extra time of the 2014 WC final in Brazil prolonged the Argentinean dream of their 3rd World Cup title much further. To add more misery to the World Cup final loss against Germany, Chile inflicted Argentina with two consecutive finale losses in La Copa America and a series of failures to clinch the titles also pushed Lionel Messi into brief retirement. If it was not for Messi’s hat-trick against Ecuador in their last World Cup qualifier game, Argentina would have missed the flight to Russia.

A forward line which includes Paulo Dybala, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain should propel ‘La Albiceleste’ into next round. With Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria breathing down their neck and mediocre show by Messi and Co. will surely add more misery to the Argentinean’s.

Iceland, who are currently having a dream run is surely in for some big hunting. With Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria already on their platter Iceland will try to emulate the giant-killing run similar to the 2016 Euros where they knocked England out on the way to the quarter-finals. Their passionate fans and thunderous Viking clap are a driving force behind the team.

Studded with a star line of Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic, the Croatian team has all the elements to go further in the tournament. But a recent 2-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly match meant that Croatia will have to go back to the drawing board. On the other hand, Nigeria which is managed by Gernot Rohr since 2016, paved their way to World Cup courtesy of dominant performances over Zambia, Algeria, and Cameroon. With Premier League stars like Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Victor Moses (Chelsea) and Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) in their ranks the ‘Super Eagles’ have the potential to stake a claim for a spot in the next round.

Teams likely to qualify into the next round – Argentina and Croatia