Iceland are ready to be the favourites against Nigeria
While it’s completely understandable that many fans put Iceland and Nigeria down as the two teams that likely wouldn’t qualify from Group D, it also feels like it was a little bit short-sighted. There was a reason why so many people were calling Group D the unofficial Group of Death for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and beyond that, there’s a reason why these two nations were able to qualify. Iceland have been able to put together a solid squad from top to bottom that understands how everyone plays, and that has brought them a lot of success over the last few years. Nigeria, on the other hand, have a strong attacking presence, and they’ve got one of the most passionate fanbases in all of world football.
During the first round of fixtures, it was clear to see that both sets of players had very different forms of body language from the first minute till the very last, with Iceland possessing a strong level of organisation whereas Nigeria seems to be disjointed and as a result, weren’t able to break down Croatia. Now, however, the dynamic of the second game will likely be completely different, with both teams understanding the current situation. Following Argentina’s loss they know that a victory puts them in prime position to qualify in second place from the group, and interestingly enough, this scenario places Iceland in a position they aren’t used to being in – they’re the favourites. The European side spoke about this during their most recent press conference, which was attended by both their captain and their coach. As you’d expect they were calm, collected and stern when answering the majority of the questions they were posed, and one thing is of sure – they certainly know how to keep you guessing. They seemed to be intrigued by the prospect of being the favourites as opposed to the underdogs for once. That is because all their biggest results have come from international football’s biggest names. Still, it couldn’t hurt to try something new.
Nigeria, on the other hand, should be feeling quite comfortable in the underdog tag. Many fans have already written them off as a team who won’t be qualifying for the Round of 16, despite the fact that they’ll still be in with a great chance even if they only pick up a point this afternoon. They’ll notice Iceland’s overwhelming confidence and they’ll want to capitalise on that, especially if they get cocky or complacent at any point throughout the course of the game. Some are choosing to believe that these two teams will cancel each other out instead of going for it, but don’t be surprised if we see some goals in this one.