Croatia v Iceland Group D 2018 World Cup Betting Prediction.

Croatia v Iceland Group D 2018 World Cup Betting Prediction

Written by on June 25, 2018

Croatia already has qualified for the 2018 World Cup knockout round, while Iceland must beat Croatia in their final game to give themselves the chance of qualification and currently have a better goal difference than Argentina in Group D. If Argentina beat Nigeria in their final game and Croatia beat Iceland, Argentina advances ahead of Iceland, which is a betting underdog for this match.

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Group D 2018 World Cup Betting Prediction: Croatia v Iceland

  • When: Tuesday, 2 PM ET
  • Where: Rostov Arena, Rostov-On-Don, Russia
  • TV / Stream: Fox Sports 1 / Fox Sports Go
  • 2018 World Cup Betting Odds: Croatia +121 / Iceland +235 / Draw +225 (Total at 2.5 goals)

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Why Bet on Iceland?

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Head coach: Heimir Hallgrímsson
  • Captain: Aron Gunnarsson
  • FIFA Ranking: 22
  • World Cup Appearances: 1
Iceland, the smallest country to ever qualify for a World Cup, drew 1-1 with Argentina in their opener but then lost 2-0 to Nigeria. In that loss, Gylfi Sigurdsson had a chance to make things interesting when Alfred Finnbogason earned a VAR-awarded penalty, but the Everton playmaker skied his 83rd-minute effort over the bar.

“We had them in the first half. They did not have a shot on target, let’s not forget that,” Kari Arnason said. “But people sometimes talk like beating Nigeria is something we are supposed to do. Nobody in the team thinks like that. We did think we could beat Nigeria, but then again it is one of football’s greatest nations. We were the underdogs. We don’t think we’re that good that we’re gonna smash Nigeria and then on to the next one, Croatia. It does not work like that.”

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson named midfielder Rurik Gislason to replace experienced winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who picked up an injury in the draw with Argentina. Key playmaker Sigurdsson remained in the starting XI, having recovered from injury just in time for the World Cup, while striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson replaced Emil Hallfredsson.

Sigurdsson fired in two shots on target in the first six minutes of this match, as many as his side managed in total in 90 minutes against Argentina in their opening match. It was Iceland’s first ever defeat in a group stage match at a major international tournament (Euros and World Cup), having previously drawn three and won one of four such games.

Iceland and Croatia are very familiar with one another. The Croatians ended Iceland’s 2014 World Cup dream by beating them in a two-legged playoff, and the relationship between the sides on the field has often been tempestuous. The teams met in the qualifying campaign for Russia, with each winning at home as Iceland topped the group.

“We’ve played Croatia four times in four years, we’ve often said we’re like a married couple — we’re trying to get divorced, but we always meet up again,” Hallgrimsson said.

Projected Line-Up

  • 1-H. Halldórsson
  • 6-R. Sigurðsson
  • 2-B. Sævarsson
  • 18-H. Magnússon
  • 8-B. Bjarnason
  • 14-K. Árnason
  • 17-A. Gunnarsson
  • 10-G. Sigurðsson
  • 19-R. Gíslason
  • 11-A. Finnbogason
  • 22-J. Böðvarsson

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Why Bet on Croatia?

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Head coach: Zlatko Dalić
  • Captain: Luka Modric
  • FIFA Ranking: 20
  • World Cup Appearances: 5
The Croats beat Nigeria 2-0 in their first match and then routed Argentina 3-0. In that upset, Ante Rebic made the most of a Willy Caballero howler to open the scoring in the 53rd minute before Luka Modric curled in a sensational second (81) and Ivan Rakitic stroked in an injury-time third to secure his side’s passage to the knockout stages. It was Croatia’s first victory in five attempts against South American nations at the World Cup. Modric has scored with both of his shots on target so far at the 2018 World Cup.

This is only the second time Croatia have won both of their opening two games at a World Cup, after the 1998 tournament that saw them reach the semi-finals. Croatia has kept a clean sheet in three of their last four World Cup games, as many as they had in their previous 12 in the competition.

Croatia will reach the knockout round for the first time since 1998. They’ve never finished top in the group stage, finishing in second place when qualifying in 1998.

Croatia comes in as the 2018 World Cup Betting favorite against Iceland.

And here’s some good news for Iceland: Manager Zlatko Dalic wants to keep his squad fresh and with the squad already having advanced, he’s going to rest some players. When asked of his plans to rest some of his stars, Dalic’s answer was short and sweet: “Yes, I will.” He can afford to protect the six players at risk of suspension for the knockout stages if they pick up a second yellow card, including Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic.

Players who have received one caution have it erased after the group stage. A second yellow card in the group stages means a suspension.

“I’d like to top the group,” Dalic said. “But we have to take care because we have some players on yellow cards, so I will change the line-up. I will not start those who are on yellow cards because it’s too much of a risk, there are 22 players who can play.”

Croatia’s first-choice lineup is full of stars playing at Europe’s top clubs, such as Modric (Real Madrid), Rakitic (Barcelona) and Mandzukic (Juventus), but the backups have had little exposure at major tournaments.

“No matter who is playing,” second-choice goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic, who could get a start ahead of Danijel Subasic, said, “no matter who is in the first XI or not, we will try to continue and get three points.”

Projected Line-Up

  • 23-D. Subašić
  • 21-D. Vida
  • 3-I. Strinić
  • 6-D. Lovren
  • 2-Š. Vrsaljko
  • 10-L. Modrić
  • 7-I. Rakitić
  • 4-I. Perišić
  • 11-M. Brozović
  • 17-M. Mandžukić
  • 18-A. Rebić

Expert Final Score Prediction

Iceland 2 – Croatia 1