Group D Highlight
The group standing on the table here shows that favourite Argentina still needs to secure a win before can go through the group stage. Meanwhile, the top leaderboard Croatia will just need to secure 1 more win to go through.
Let us start to check what could happen in this group.
Argentina vs Croatia
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- The only time Croatia play against Argentina in the World Cup was in France 1998. Argentina won 1-0 – but Croatia, only a debutant at that World Cup, finished 3rd place! What a journey!
- Against Nigeria, Croatia shows some sharp attack that could have been a goal. But their goals were not-so-impressive own goal by Etebo (who deflect the header from to his won goal) and from a penalty kick. Hardly impressive. That’s despite 54% ball possession they control.
- But Argentina has their own trouble as well. Beside that failed penalty kick by Messi, Argentina also failed to puncture Iceland defence. And quickly getting an equalizer after they score only 4 minutes later. A sign of arrogance? Maybe, because Iceland is not that strong. Argentina could easily beat them at least 3-0 on any other day.
- So, can the rank #20 Croatia beats the rank #5 Argentina?
- I will call for Argentina win : 2-1
- The biggest upset of world cup 2018 so far! Croatia just brilliant. Argentina surrendered goalless 0-3.
- So, the penalty miss by Messi is indeed an indicator how Argentina team is not really strong for this world cup, and Croatia just confirmed it. The world no 5 just need a confirmation that despite Messi magic in the qualification, they are just not ready yet for greatness in the world cup.
- Until halftime, it was all nil as Croatia and Argentina exchange back and forth attack that lovely to watch. Argentina dominated the ball possession but still not available to produce a goal. Even though they tried all of their stars. Messi, Higuain, Dybala and Aguero were all helpless to score any goal.
- In the second half, Rebik (53′), Modric (80′) and ended with Rakitic (90’+1), just deliver a masterclass of football to Argentina. Argentina was not only been humiliated and dominated. They were clearly being bullied in football by Croatia. A sweet revenge for that 1-0 defeat in 1998!
- The first goal was clearly 100% due to a mistake by goalkeeper Wilfredo Cabalerro who was very sloppy in securing safety pass. Rebic just seize the opportunity and a goal was scored.
- The first goal ignite the confidence that have been build up since kick off. Then Modric at 80′ just kick a powerful-opportunistic shot from outside penalty and Caballero again fail to anticipate. 2-0.
- And the final goal is the one slapped Argentina in the face. Imagine, 3 Croatian, 1 Argentinian defender and no goalkeeper, was that easy enough to score a goal?. That was a scene a moment before the final goal. What a humiliating experience for Argentina.
Nigeria vs Iceland
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- Still high with an impressive draw against Argentina, Iceland now has to tame the Super Eagles, Nigeria.
- Nigeria is on a do-or-die game and will throw anything to stay afloat. Physically the Nigerian is faster and tougher, so in a fast moving game, they should be in an advantage.
- However, Iceland defence has been proven to be effective even to neutralize the Argentinian, so it is hard for the Nigerian to score a goal.
- But Nigeria is far more experienced than the debutant Iceland.
- So, I will call this match to be a scoreless draw 0-0.
- Considering Iceland is the FIFA world rank #22 and Croatia is the #20, it is easy to assume that since Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 in the first group match last week, Iceland would be – at least on paper – able to beat Nigeria (FIFA World Rank # 48). And my oh my, Nigeria shows all of us that with determination anything can happen.
- Not only Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0, they beat it with style. With 58% ball possession and 84% pass accuracy, Nigeria dominated the match. Lucky for Iceland that the first half was remain scoreless.
- But the intensity was increased in the second half. The 23-years old Ahmed Musa with jersey number 9 bring Iceland to its knees with 2 goals at 49′ and 75′.
- The first goal was absolutely world class! In a fast break-out counter-attack, Moses from the right wing made a cross in a high-speed run to Musa just inside the penalty box. Musa controlled the fast moving ball brilliantly with his first touch and make a powerful second touch to Iceland goal post with 3 defenders and the goalie cannot do absolutely anything.
- Then again, at 74′ Ahmed Musa single-handedly punch through the left sector of penalty area of Iceland, conquering 3 defenders and the goalkeeper with his superb ball control. You need to see it to believe it… Such skill and confidence! When you look at the footage starts with 1 minute earlier as at the end of 73′ Musa also should make another goal if his shot just a few centimetres down)
- Ahmed Musa of Nigeria(Leicester City) will soon get a very lucrative contract and play first-class football in an elite European club. That’s almost a certainty!
- Iceland did get a VAR-given penalty at 82′ but still unable to convert to a goal. Bad day for Iceland.
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The Group D Standing after 2nd Group Matches
Interesting to see that the seeded team really legitimately at the bottom of the ladder and the underdog shines.
- Croatia is through, the 4th country that books their place to the Top 16.
- Nigeria just needs a draw against Argentina to qualified from the group stage.
- Iceland needs to architect a must win against Croatia with a requirement that Argentina beat Nigeria and they won bigger difference in goal than Argentina.
- Argentina needs a win. A big one. But also with a requirement that Iceland must not win their Croatia match.