World Cup – Argentina-Iceland

Argentina goes toe to toe against Iceland in a first match from Group D of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. This game is going to be played at the Otkrytiye Arena in the Russian capital Moscow. Let’s have a look at it.

Four years ago Argentina were very close to the world title, reaching the final against Germany in Rio De Janeiro. The match went to extra time, which Germany won after a crucial goal from Mario Gotze. Argentina played their first final since 1990, but they failed to win their third World Cup. Now – after some changes being made, the Albiceleste are once again motivated to reach the final. But this time – to win it.

Iceland on the other hand are enjoying the best era in their whole history. Two years ago they qualified for a first time for the European Cup and even reached the 1/4-finals. Now they managed to qualify for a first time for the World Cup as well. Despite of being a small country with a weak domestic league, Iceland are enjoying some golden times at the moment. After reaching the 1/4-finals in France two years ago, their next big goal is to reach the knockout phase of the World Cup, too.

Argentina are not performing very consistent lately and the friendly games which they played before the tournament are proving it. They won three of them (against Russia, Italy and Haiti), but also suffered two defeats against Nigeria and Spain. Especially humilating was the loss against Spain at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. This game ended with a 6-1 win for La Roja.

After the end of the World Cup qualifications, Iceland played a few friendlies as well, but they managed to win just one of them – against Indonesia. They made draws against Qatar and Ghana, and suffered losses against Czech Republic, Mexico, Peru and Norway. It’s true that friendly games are not decisive in any way, but these results should be at least a little bit worrying about Iceland’s current shape.

Of course, Lionel Messi is the man to watch at Argentina’s squad. The Barcelona superstar is the captain of this team and its biggest hope for winning the World Cup. It’d be interesting to see what the manager Jorge Sampaoli is going to choose for his partner in attack. He has two main options – Sergio Aguero or Gonzalo Higuain.

Everton’s star Gilfy Sigurdsson is the big inspiration in Iceland’s squad. Gilfy already has some rich experience in the English Premier League, which means that he knows very well how to play on top level. But the truth is that Iceland’s best quality is their team spirit.

We expect Argentina to start the World Cup with a win, but it won’t come easy. Because of two reasons. First of all, Albiceleste are not really that convincing at the moment. And second of all, Iceland are a solid opponent, which shall not be underrestimated. They will offer a fight, that’s for sure.