FIFA World Cup 2018 Group D Prediction

Runners-up in Brazil four years ago, two-time World Cup champion Argentina are the star attraction in Group D of the 2018 tournament.

They will face World Cup debutants Iceland, into their second consecutive major tournament after impressing at Euro 2016, Croatia and Nigeria.

Read on for the fixtures, group odds and forecasts in Group D….

Teams

Argentina

  • Qualified in third place in the South American group, after winning their final game.
  • Key Players: Lionel Messi was Argentina’s saviour, with his hat-trick in the final qualifying game enough to seal their progress to the World Cup. He finished qualifying as second-top scorer on seven goals and it was telling that he sat out of Argentina’s crushing friendly defeat against Spain. Sergio Aguero scored 30 goals for Manchester City this season despite two injuries, while Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain provide further attacking strength.
  • Last five results:
    • W
    • L
    • W
    • L
    • W
  • Odds to win the tournament: 9/1 (Betfair)

Iceland

  • Qualified as winners of European Group I, courtesy of a perfect home record.
  • Key Players: Kolbeinn Sigborsson scored twice for Iceland at Euro 2016, and is back playing again after a lengthy injury absence. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored four times in qualifying for Iceland, and the Everton man will feel he has a point to prove after a below-par season at Goodison Park. Captain Aron Gunnarsson offers experience and creates problems with his long throw-ins.
  • Last five results:
    • W
    • W
    • L
    • L
    • L
  • Odds to win the tournament: 250/1 (William Hill)

Croatia

  • After finishing behind Iceland in Group I of European qualifying, Croatia beat Greece in the play-offs to qualify for the World Cup.
  • Key Players: Champions League-winning Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric captains the Croatia side, while Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic is closing in on the 100-cap mark and has taken the armband in some recent friendlies. Juventus duo Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic provide further experience and quality. Mandzukic netted five times in qualifying.
  • Last five results:
    • W
    • D
    • L
    • W
    • L
  • Odds to win the tournament: 33/1 (Bet365)

Nigeria

  • Qualified as winners of the CAF Third Round Group B – they would have been unbeaten, but for forfeiting a game against Algeria (which was originally a 1-1 draw) due to fielding an ineligible player.
  • Key Players: Nigeria have a core of Premier League stars, all of whom made an impact in qualifying. Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi both scored twice in qualifying, and also scored in Nigeria’s friendly win against Argentina. Chelsea’s Victor Moses, who plays in a more advanced role internationally than he does in the Premier League, was their top scorer in qualifying and also netted the winner in the recent friendly win against Poland.
  • Last five results:
    • L
    • W
    • L
    • D
    • L
  • Odds to win the tournament: 750/1 (Betfair)

Group D Fixtures

Argentina

VS13:00 GMTJune 16th

Otkritie Arena, Moscow

Iceland

Croatia

VS18:00 GMTJune 16th

Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

Nigeria

Argentina

VS18:00 GMTJune 21st

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Nivgorod

Croatia

Nigeria

VS15:00 GMTJune 22nd

Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

Iceland

Nigeria

VS18:00 GMTJune 26th

Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg

Argentina

Iceland

VS18:00 GMTJune 26th

Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

Croatia

Group D Betting Tips & Prediction

Group Betting

Argentina are comfortable odds-on favourites to win Group D, despite their poor form, with their big-tournament experience and star players enough to convince Bet365 to set them at 8/13 to win the group.

Croatia are the team expected to push them closest at 9/4 to top Group D with Bet365, while Nigeria are 10/1 and Iceland can be backed at 12/1.

Group Qualification Yes/No

Whether or not they do it in first place, Argentina are still expected to go through to the second round – at the end of the day, despite their below-par qualification campaign, they still reached the World Cup finals.

Sometimes peaking as the tournament goes on serves teams better – Portugal at Euro 2016, for example – and it is little surprise to see Argentina as low as 1/7 to qualify from Group C.

Croatia are also odds-on favourites to get through at 1/2 with Bet365. Iceland are 11/4 and Nigeria are 9/4 – though one cautionary note is that, as well as needing the play-offs to reach the World Cup finals, Croatia have not made it out of the group stages since finishing third at France ’98.

They will still expect to go through, but Iceland have already caused an upset at Euro 2016 and after taking their form into World Cup qualifying will be keen to do so again in Russia. Iceland also finished ahead of Croatia in qualifying, but in head-to-head matches they both won one game apiece.

Group Forecast

Group D could be one of the groups that produces a shock result, given Argentina’s poor form, Croatia’s recent World Cup record and Iceland’s recent giant killing.

However, ultimately Argentina will expect to top the group and Croatia will expect to join them in the second round. The 1st – Argentina, 2nd – Croatia forecast is 7/4 with Bet365. If you do fancy Iceland to cause another upset, 1st – Argentina, 2nd – Iceland is 6/1..

To Finish Bottom of Group

Even if they do not qualify, Iceland will hope to beat Nigeria and avoid finishing bottom in Group D so it is a surprise given their Euro 2016 heroics to find them favourites to finish fourth.

Bet365 are offering 6/5 on Iceland finishing bottom of the pile, compared to 7/5 for Nigeria. Iceland showed they can out-perform expectations at a major tournament with their Euro 2016 performances, and the fact they have carried that form all the way through qualifying for Russia 2018 is an ominous sign for Nigeria.

Group D Recommended Bet

Iceland made waves with their performances at Euro 2016, and while they will have to go some to overcome Argentina and Croatia and reach the knockout stages, they will at least be hopeful of avoiding bottom spot. Nigeria beat Argentina in a friendly in November, but they will not expect a repeat of that thrilling win when it comes to the World Cup. Nigeria are 7/5 to finish bottom of Group D with Bet365.

Group D prediction

Argentina (8/13 to win the group with Bet365)

Croatia (1/2 to qualify with Bet365)

Iceland (1/4 to fail to qualify with Bet365)

Nigeria (7/5 to finish bottom with Bet365)

Which Teams will qualify from Group D?

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