World Cup Preview - Group D

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World Cup Preview - Group D

World Cup Preview – Group D

World Cup Preview - Group D

Argentina

FIFA Ranking: 4th

Qualification: Argentina finished 3rd in the CONMEBOL qualifiers so you might be fooled
into thinking they played well leading up to the World Cup, but that wasn’t the case.
Argentina registered only 7 wins from 18 games and relied on the individual brilliance of
Lionel Messi (Hat-trick v Ecuador) in their last qualification game to secure their place at
Russia 2018.

History: Argentina have a rich World Cup history and are one of the most decorated teams
in International Soccer. In total Argentina have reached the final of the World Cup Final five
times, winning twice and finishing runner-up on three occasions.

Head Coach: Jorge Sampaoli

Players to watch: Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Gonzalo Higuain

Top Goalscorer in qualification: Messi – 7 Goals

Stage of elimination: Should Argentina win this group they’ll have a favourable draw in the
R16 most likely facing Denmark or Peru. We expect La Albiceleste to make it to the Quarter
or Semi-finals

Iceland

FIFA Ranking: 21st

Qualification: Iceland who had a memorable run at Euro 2016 once again punched above
their weight as they topped their qualification group that contained Croatia (18th), Turkey (37th), and Ukraine (30th). With a population of just 330,000 Iceland will officially the
smallest country by population to ever qualify for a World Cup

History: This is the first time Iceland have made it to a World Cup

Head Coach: Heimir Hallgrímsson

Players to watch: Gylfi Sigurðsson and Alfreð Finnbogason

Top Goalscorer in qualification: Sigurðsson 4 Goals

Stage of elimination: This is legitimately one of the toughest groups in Russia this summer,
unfortunately for Iceland, we don’t see them getting much further than the Group stages.

Croatia

FIFA Ranking: 18th

Qualification: Croatia who finished 2nd in their qualification group behind Iceland needed a
play-off with Greece to book their place in Russia this summer. Under new management,
they brushed aside the Greeks with ease.

History: Croatia’s best ever run was when they made it to the semi-finals in 1998, since
then they’ve not made it out of the group stages.

Head Coach: Zlatko Dalić

Players to watch: Luca Modric, Mario Mandžukić, and Ivan Rakitić

Top Goalscorer in qualification: Mario Mandžukić – 5 Goals

Stage of elimination: In our opinion, Croatia have a great chance at qualifying for the
knockout stages, Should they finish 2nd in this group as we expect them to then they go on
to face the winners of Group C which would mean a likely R16 clash with France.

Nigeria

FIFA Ranking: 41st

Qualification: Nigeria had an impressive qualification campaign going unbeaten and only
conceding 4 goals, unlike previous World Cup campaigns Nigeria showed a lot of discipline
in defence and will prove to be a tough nut to crack for most of the teams in this group.

History: Nigeria have made it to the World Cup on five occasions with their best finish being
the R16 in 1994, 1998, and 2014

Head Coach: Gernot Rohr

Players to watch: Wilfried Ndidi, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, and Kelechi Iheanacho

Top Goalscorer in qualification: Victor Moses – 3 goals

Stage of elimination: As we mentioned this is one of the toughest groups in the
competitions so Nigeria getting out of this group would be a huge achievement in itself.
Unfortunately for them we don’t see them progressing to the knockout stages


World Cup Preview - Group D

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