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StevieDay1983

Group D Predictions (Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria)

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Group D is being labelled as the "Group of Death". Argentina are being fancied by many to deliver the World Cup win that eludes Lionel Messi. Croatia and Iceland are two of the toughest teams in Europe. Then there is Nigeria who are arguably the best team in Africa right now. Interested to hear what bets you guys will be slamming down for this group.

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Recent friendlies have thrown the destiny of this group wide open. Argentina, quite frankly, look really ill-prepared for this tournament. I wouldn't be surprised if they are one of the big nations that leave the tournament prematurely. In fact, for all their attacking talent I think their poor defence and under-performing head coach could see them fail to get past the 2nd Round. I wouldn't even put it past them struggling to get out of this group. Croatia could well win this group and then if Nigeria have one of their good days then they could turn Argentina over. Iceland are also a very tough side to break down. Maybe not as effective as they were at the 2016 European Championship but they can't be ruled out.

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I disagree with your analysis. Argentina vs Nigeria friendly match that saw Nigeria beating Argentina 4-2 was without Messi, the No one player of Barcelona. Argentina has always reached knockout stage apart from 2002, that saw big countries beating out of competition. South Korea, Turkey, USA and Senegal emerging to quarter finals back in 2002. This is also a difficult group.

 

Team          P     W    D.  L    PTS 

Argentina    3.   2   1.    0      7 

Croatia.    . 3     1     2    0.     5

Iceland.     1.     2    0.     1.    4

Nigeria.     3.     0      2.    1.    2

  •  

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23 hours ago, Dalan Quaice said:

I disagree with your analysis. Argentina vs Nigeria friendly match that saw Nigeria beating Argentina 4-2 was without Messi, the No one player of Barcelona. Argentina has always reached knockout stage apart from 2002, that saw big countries beating out of competition. South Korea, Turkey, USA and Senegal emerging to quarter finals back in 2002. This is also a difficult group.

 

Team          P     W    D.  L    PTS 

Argentina    3.   2   1.    0      7 

Croatia.    . 3     1     2    0.     5

Iceland.     1.     2    0.     1.    4

Nigeria.     3.     0      2.    1.    2

  •  

Yeah, fair point about Messi but they need him performing. If teams realise this and focus on nullifying Messi (easier said than done!) then it could seriously hamper Argentina's tournament. I just think they are a disaster waiting to happen. It's a very tough group too. Glad you mentioned 2002. That is exactly how this group feels like.

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Yes. Remember, Real Madrid vs Juventus, second leg return match Juventus down with three points first leg in Champions League knockout 1/8 stage? Real Madrid, Ronaldo was nullified, borrowing your word. But Ronaldo secured the most important goal thru penality.

My point is no matter how a star player is nullified, they still manage to shine forever one to reckon. Messi will see Argentina through. Besides, Argentina has big players all over Europe. Most Argentina national team line up are international football players. Argentina will win their three matches that is my prediction 

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I worry about Argentina, they may have to score 2 or 3 to win a game here but they have the players to do it. If they play a team and go one down then for them to come back and win it is going to be hard for anyone, especially in tournament football. Croatia have decent and experienced players and I really fancy them to win it with Argentina just getting thru, probably pulling it out of the bag in the last game. 

Iceland and Nigeria are just a little bit too far behind for me. 

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The more I think about it, the more I can see Argentina coming across problems here. I think Messi could drag them kicking and screaming through the group stage but their form over the past 2 years has been very poor. Iceland and Nigeria are the worst teams you could hope for if you're struggling to get results. Croatia haven't performed at a major tournament since 1998 but just look at their talent pool. It's incredible. Not far short of Belgium. They finished below Iceland in qualification too! They did only concede 4 goals in qualifying and it's that defence that could save them here.

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Argentina vs Iceland

In terms of a difference in size when comparing the achievements of international football sides it probably doesn't come much more vast than Argentina and Iceland. The two sides go head-to-head this Saturday afternoon in a 2pm BST kick-off at the Otkritie Arena in Moscow to start proceedings in Group D.

It's not been the easiest of starts to the reign of Jorge Sampaoli as Argentina head coach. The former Chile manager was head-hunted to deliver World Cup success after the country's narrow 1-0 loss after extra-time to Germany in 2014 and then lacklustre periods under Gerardo Martino and Edgardo Bauza.

Some might say there has been progress under Sampaoli. He managed to sneak them through the qualification but did so with just 1 win from his 4 qualification games in charge. The team needed a Lionel Messi hat-trick in their final qualification match against Ecuador away after going 1-0 down to secure their spot in Russia. Friendly defeats to Nigeria and Spain plus the controversial last minute withdrawal from the Israel friendly has hampered their preparations. There is just a feeling that something isn't quite right with this Argentine squad.

Iceland shook European football by reaching the 2016 European Championship Quarter-Finals finishing ahead of eventual winners Portugal in their group and then defeating England in the 2nd Round. The Icelandic side has only improved since then so many are tipping them to be a problem in this group. The majority of this squad plays in the top leagues around Europe so they hold a vast amount of experience now.

The only issue that continues to be a problem for Iceland is their goalkeeper. Hannes Halldorsson is prone to an error and 34 years old now. He's playing for Danish Superliga side Randers so will he get shell shocked by the big stage. He's a weakness teams with any sense will look to exploit.

I think Argentina are way short in the defensive department to be considered as serious contenders. They are going to need Sampaoli to crack the code of getting the best out of Messi, Higuain, and Di Maria if he is to combat the defensive frailties. Argentina should have enough to squeeze out a win here. I'm not expecting Iceland to be battered. Heimir Hallgrimsson saw his side finish above Croatia in qualifying so they know how to deal with quality attacking sides. Argentina to win but Iceland will fight for the whole 90 minutes meaning I am not sure there will be too much between these sides at full time.

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.85 with Unibet

Iceland AH +1.5 @ 1.89 with Blacktype

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Croatia vs Nigeria

The second game in the opening round of Group D games is being played between Croatia and Nigeria in an 8pm kick-off this Saturday at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad. Once again, we are faced with an encounter between two sides that really lack the understanding of consistency when it comes to major international tournaments.

Just looking down the squad list of the Croatian side and it boggles the mind how they are not being tipped as dark horses for the competition. Head coach Zlatko Dalic has the likes of Danijel Subasic, Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Strinic, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, and Mario Mandzukic at his disposal. That's not far off the talent pool of some of the favourites. However, the same things are being said. Behind the scenes rumblings, an inability to make key players gel, and player nerves will cost them. Will that be true this time around?

All the talk around Nigeria leading into this World Cup has been about their kit and urban wear collection. Gernot Rohr will not mind that one bit. Far better to distract the media than some precarious pay dispute. Nigeria have never made it past the last 16 but with attacking talent such as John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Odion Ighalo in their ranks they will be confident that they can try and out-score teams in Russia.

Croatia finished second in their qualification group behind Iceland. They need a final day win away to Ukraine to seal that play-off spot. In the play-offs they breezed past the 2004 European Championship winners Greece 4-1 on aggregate but there is a feeling that win papered over cracks.

Nigeria were far more convincing in their qualification. They finished 5 points top of a group that contained tricky opposition such as 2012 African Cup of Nations winners Zambia, 2017 African Cup of Nations and 1990 World Cup Quarter-Finalists Cameroon, and 2014 World Cup 2nd Round qualifiers Algeria.

My feeling is that this game will decide who will qualifies from this group. If they draw then it opens up a huge opportunity for Iceland. I just think even the most incompetent of managers should get enough out of this Croatian side to see them into the 2nd Round. I haven't been impressed by Nigeria in their friendlies and still feel they lack the consistency needed to reach the last 16.

Croatia to win @ 1.75 with Boylesports

BTTS @ 2.23 with Unibet

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Croatia -0.5 @1,80

We were able to see that there will be no easy match. Especially in the first round, where especially those well-disciplined teams, with defensive approaches, are capable of surprising much much better opponents. After all, it is only 90 minutes and everything can happen. Here, two very talented squads will meet. Nigeria has some very interesting individuals, some very physical players, capable also of running a lot, but on the other side, we have Croatia with some extremely experienced players, used to play Champions league finals almost every year and tactical advantage is the one, I think will decide the winner on this match. Comparing player to player, Croatia is without a doubt a better side, but Iran, Australia, Iceland have already shown that everything is possible. I think that in overall, odds on Croatia are too high and very valuable. I would set Croatia max at 1,60 as in my eyes they are right behind all those top favorized countries (Brazil, Germany, France, Spain). With Modrić, Rakitić, Kovačić, Badelj, etc... their midfield will be amongst the best on this tournament, they have experienced defensive line and some very good players higher on the pitch (especially Perišić). I expect, that they will get the job done here and start the World Cup with three points. As said at the start of the World Cup, I quietly expect Croatians in the first place in this group. 

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Agree with Pep.

Really fancy Croatia here especially given the Argies result. Wouldn't surprise me if they win the group.

I just don't see it with Nigeria. Nothing to suggest they will get more than a draw here if lucky. Croatia can take control of the group with a win and fancy them to.

Took Croatia with a boost of WilliamHill @1.75.

Edited by Icongene

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Argentina vs Croatia

One of the stand-out games in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup comes this Thursday evening at 7pm BST from Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod when Argentina play Croatia. The game now has an extra bit of spice after Jorge Sampaoli's faltered unexpectedly against Iceland in their opening match.

I had tipped Argentina to struggle at this World Cup. I still thought they would sneak a win against Iceland though. It appears they now have an over-reliance on Lionel Messi and that's disconcerting. Unless he has a magic moment then I'm not sure where the goals will come from because the current tactics are being too easily stifled.

Croatia are a step up from Iceland. Zlatko Dalic's side made a business-like start to their tournament with a 2-0 win over Nigeria. However, that might suit Argentina more. Croatia will certainly be more confident about taking the game to Argentina but that might well hinder them at the same time.

The more I think about this game, the more I feel that both sides would take a draw. Argentina will fancy their chances against Nigeria in their last game. A draw here and win there would give them 5 points and that should be enough to qualify. Is that Sampaoli's mentality though? Or will he demand a win here?

Funnily enough, even though Croatia won their first game and are in the superior position it might be the Croats that take the initiative. They know how hard Iceland are from their qualification group. That said, they did beat Iceland 2-0 at home and only lost 1-0 to a 90th minute goal in the away match. So maybe they will fancy their chances. Dalic will certainly be keen to get the job done as soon as possible though.

I think on the face of it that a draw is the most likely outcome here. Argentina are missing something. I'm not sure what it is but it's just not clicking. Maybe it'll happen at the right time. They could amble through the group stages then get progressively better as the tournament goes on. I'm not seeing anything right now that has me thinking they have what it takes to go further than the 2nd Round and they'll be lucky to reach that stage. They need Messi to pull them through but even he looks short of something special.

It's a tough game to call. Croatia remain hard to judge based on their game with Nigeria. It was a typical inconsistent display by the Super Eagles. Argentina might well feel like a wounded animal. I still think they have talented attacking players and a quality head coach. It has to click at some point, surely? Will it click on Thursday though? I just think Croatia have the quality to suffocate them. I'm keen to see how much influence Ivan Rakitic will have over how Croatia play against Messi. Being a player that plays close to Messi at club level, is there a better scout and informant to have?

BTTS @ 2.00 with Ladbrokes

Draw @ 3.45 with Unibet

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Football Facts and Streaks regarding FIFA World Cup

France have won 80% of their last 10 matches in FIFA World Cup.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 91% of Croatia's last 11 games in FIFA World Cup.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Peru's last 5 games in FIFA World Cup.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 86% of Argentina's last 7 games in FIFA World Cup.
Denmark are undefeated in their last 10 matches in FIFA World Cup.

You can find interesting 26 Football Betting Streaks for 21.06.2018 on this link ... http://eurofootballrumours.com/football-facts-and-streaks-21-06-2018-10031

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A major match, especially for Argentina, if lost will have a serious problem. Sabaolli is expected to set up his team with three central defenders, the two teams are fixed defensive and I do not see the opening of the score, the few goals have a lot of luck
ARGENTINA vs CROATIA @@ +2.50 Under, odds 1.65

The two teams showed in the first match that they have many weaknesses but will always be fighting and do not lose easily and with great scores. I expect a very closed match with few goals and phases
DENMARK vs AUSTRALIA @@ +2.50 Under, odds 1.55

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Argentina vs Croatia

I, personally, am super excited for this one!

This is, in my opinion, one of the three biggest fixtures in this round of the group stages, the other two being Serbia vs Switzerland (bias or not, this one will be bloody!) and Colombia vs Poland (because one of the two will be packing their bags early after this one).

I'll start off by saying that this game is really hard to predict, as I believe we haven't seen the true potential of neither of the teams involved in their opening fixtures. Argentina was held to a draw by the brave Iceland team, who have once again demonstrated how disciplined and hard working they are able to be, especially in the games against huge favorites. On the other hand while the Argentinian team didn't necessarily play that bad, I felt like some of the players were seriously hindering the play - rare, well-built plays that had the potential to throw off the opposition's defense and create a chance for a goal were frequently sabotaged by the moments of individual silliness, causing further frustration for the Argentinians as the game progressed. Ever Banega was leading the pack in this, and I don't know whether it was lack of flair or play vision or just plain frustration caused by the disciplined Iceland players, but in my opinion, his playtime should be seriously reconsidered after that performance, as now Argentina do not have the luxury to waste goal opportunities. I also wonder why Paulo Dybala wasn't given a chance to play in place of (or as a substitute for) Mazza, but then I've heard that there's some disagreements with Messi (which I am yet to confirm to be true). If this rumor turns out to be true, it could mean that the atmosphere in the Argentinian team is not ideal, and that could cause problems later on, especially if the team starts underperforming. Could Argentina turn out to be a loose cannon?

It should be noted that disciplined defensive teams like Iceland and Iran are a nightmare to play against and demand an entirely different approach to the game for the favorites, as was demonstrated by Argentina, and Spain last night (and will be by Portugal next week, but that's another topic). If they're not opened up early, the attackers will get more and more frustrated causing their chances of snatching a win to drop as the game progresses. The game vs Iceland may turn out to be the hardest pill to swallow for the Argentinians, or any other team in Group D for that matter, and they may end up being happy they got to do so early on.

Speaking of loose cannons, let's move on to Croatia, a team of amazing individual quality with one serious drawback - they're a team from the Balkans. Trust me, as a person from another Balkan nation, every single team from this region suffers from the same illness, which is oscillatory mental approach to the games by the players. You just never know if and when a fight between some of the players on the team may break out, leading to forming of the several groups in the national team, which shows on the pitch and hurts their play. Or, the team may win and decide to spend the night in a club getting drunk and partying with escorts. Another recognizable trait for this region is that teams tend to get extra motivated and perform great in big games where they're labeled as the underdogs or even given no chance, while they can every now and then get complacent against weaker opposition, expecting that they'll win just by showing up and dropping points as a consequence. This means that the form (perhaps consistency is a more appropriate term) of the teams may be very unpredictable. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Croatia was to beat Argentina with relative ease, only to lose to Iceland (or Nigeria, but this didn't happen) the next day. On a good day, they're more than capable to cause all sorts of upsets vs any given opposition. This is why people from the Balkans believe that their team needs a safety factor of 2.0 when it comes to the quality of their team, if they're to expect a result with confidence.

Nigeria was a team which I almost labeled as the potential dark horses in my books based on their squad and form before the World Cup, but seeing them play against Serbia (who, at the time, just appointed an inexperienced coach and were struggling with choice of a formation and lineup from game to game) gave me an insight in what was likely to happen in their WC campaign, and was later confirmed in their game against Croatia - they're uninspired and not very creative, and I see them struggling to do well in this group. Actually, Nigeria finishing with 0 points in this group wouldn't surprise me at all, unless something changes drastically in their subsequent games. One drawback from this is that we cannot be certain how strong and cohesive Croatia is in this tournament yet - a similar case to Argentina, but for different reasons.

As I've already mentioned, Iceland and Nigeria aren't really representative measurements of what Argentina and Croatia are able to do. However, I do believe that the current prices given by most of the bookies favor the Argentinians too much over Croatia with no arguments to back that up yet. I'd be surprised if Croatia didn't put in a good effort, just like they tend to usually do against the biggest teams.

I see both teams scoring in this game. The hardest battle will be fought in the midfield and will be exciting to follow, but both sides have players who are more than capable of producing a moment of brilliance, which in these games is often enough to lead to a goal. I expect Croatia to be stronger on the defensive end, and Argentina up front. Argentina will be looking for a win, which would allow them to enter their final game vs Nigeria more relaxed and play their game to the fullest, while Croatia will be satisfied even with a draw, but do not be fooled for a second to think that they'll settle for it if they're given a chance to grab all three points. Plus, they have played Iceland twice in their qualifying group and are, by now, most certainly aware of how tricky that game could be if they end up needing to fight for their playoff spot in their final game.

I think I'll stay away from betting on a winner on this game, but if I had to, I would take the value in odds on Croatia DNB or double chance.

BTTS @ 2.0 sounds too good not to take.

To make it an even more interesting game to watch, I'm considering HT CS 0:0 and BTTS in the 2nd half

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Hi all, as you can imagine I haven't had a lot of time to post write ups.

For Argentina - Croatia, bets that stand out to me:

Ever Banega anytime card @ 2.4

HT X @ 1.95

Croatia +1 @ 1.727

Croatia X @ 3

BTTS is also promising @ 2.00

I co-sign the excellent, detailed analysis above.

 

Edited by KikoCy
Formatting

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Nigeria vs Iceland

Well, this has suddenly become a very interesting group after the first round of games. Nigeria come into this game against Iceland at 4pm BST on Friday afternoon at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd needing to avoid defeat to keep their realistic hopes of qualification for the last 16 alive.

Nigeria fell severely short of expectations in their opening game against Croatia as they suffered a 2-0 loss in a very poor game in terms of quality. The Super Eagles had been praised for their attacking threat coming into this tournament but it was effectively nullified by a Croat side that showed every bit of their experience to get the win and the clean sheet.

Iceland entered World Cup folklore with the 1-1 draw against Argentina in their opening game. Yes, Heimir Hallgrimsson's team only had 22% possession and were fortunate that Lionel Messi missed a penalty but it was a draw their efforts and defensive organisation deserved. It now means that a win here could potentially put them on the brink of a place in the last 16.

This will be a fascinating game. Iceland will undoubtedly sit back and look to hit Nigeria on the counter. It's a tactic that has seen them get this far. Nigeria will not have the same attacking threat as Argentina so Iceland can be quietly confident that they can sneak the win here by being patient.

I wasn't sure Iceland's defensive strategy would cope against Argentina and Croatia but I did feel they could win against Nigeria. I think Nigeria lack the discipline and cutting edge needed to get out of this group. Self control, discipline, and patience is where this game will be won and lost. My gut instinct was tempted to back a draw but I actually think Iceland could get the win here because they are the better team unit.

Iceland to win @ 2.83 with Unibet

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.69 with Blacktype

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I honestly can't believe how poor Argentina were. The vast majority of that squad should return to Argentina with their heads hung low in shame. Jorge Sampaoli is trying to pass it out from the back with crabs in the defence. Their strengths lie in the attacking midfield and striker areas yet they seem intent on not being direct and adopting a more progressive style. It's killing them. They have one of the greatest players of all-time in their starting line-up and he is probably one of the least involved players in their side. Yes, I get he was triple marked at times but he's used to that. Even if you can't get the ball to him because the avenues are shut off then make more effort off the ball to penetrate those gaps that those pre-occupied players have left. It was embarrassing. Unless they make serious changes to their strategy against Nigeria in their final game then they will exit this tournament at the group stage. I can't see Sampaoli shifting to a less attractive plan B though. I think he'll persist and it won't work. Interested to see the odds Argentina are given in their final group game. I am still confused how such a great footballing nation can have such a shambolic defence. In a country of over 43 million surely there must be a goalkeeper and four defenders that are more effective than those pathetic excuses for international players?

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1 hour ago, waynecoyne said:

i would like to thank our foreign contributors for their insight and in depth analysis:

@DrO  @Pep004 @AlexD @Marek76 @betcatalog

apologies if I've missed anyone

Well said @waynecoyne  :clap  If you type @ and then type the username it tags people and sends them a notification. I did it for you anyway. ;) 

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11 minutes ago, StevieDay1983 said:

I honestly can't believe how poor Argentina were. The vast majority of that squad should return to Argentina with their heads hung low in shame. Jorge Sampaoli is trying to pass it out from the back with crabs in the defence. Their strengths lie in the attacking midfield and striker areas yet they seem intent on not being direct and adopting a more progressive style. It's killing them. They have one of the greatest players of all-time in their starting line-up and he is probably one of the least involved players in their side. Yes, I get he was triple marked at times but he's used to that. Even if you can't get the ball to him because the avenues are shut off then make more effort off the ball to penetrate those gaps that those pre-occupied players have left. It was embarrassing. Unless they make serious changes to their strategy against Nigeria in their final game then they will exit this tournament at the group stage. I can't see Sampaoli shifting to a less attractive plan B though. I think he'll persist and it won't work. Interested to see the odds Argentina are given in their final group game. I am still confused how such a great footballing nation can have such a shambolic defence. In a country of over 43 million surely there must be a goalkeeper and four defenders that are more effective than those pathetic excuses for international players?

Agreed, absolutely awful. Not sure I'd even back them to beat Nigeria to be honest. :loon 

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