According to the punters, this group is divided into three sections. Section A is Argentina. Section B is Croatia and section C is Nigeria and Iceland. I break this group down into only two sections. Section A is Argentina, without doubt, they are the best team in this group. When you have the best player in the world today on your team in Messi, you are already looking past this group and how to conquer what’s next.
Section B is made up of the remaining three teams: Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland, who will be in a tough fight for the second spot in this group. Savy bettors might be able to find a few gems betting in this group.
Group D World Cup Preview
What the Oddsmakers Say?
Odds courtesy of BetOnline (subject to change)
Team Argentina Preview
Conmebol is loaded with great world powers which made it a very difficult qualifying zone. Qualifying this time around did not go as expected for Argentina as they finished third behind Brazil and Uruguay, although this still gave them automatic qualification to the World Cup. Under two different managers during this campaign, Argentina did not settle into a specific system. Messi and the team didn’t appear to be on the same page at any point. The new manager, Jorge Sampaoli, needs to come up with a system that keep his players happy but is centred around Messi.
In their last four friendly matches, Argentina had two wins and two loses including a terrible 6-1 loses to Spain (when Argentina played without Messi). Argentina should have won the last World Cup and they have a great chance of winning this one if they can settle on a system centred on Messi. The three group games will be used to sort out this new playing system. Argentina wins this group easily and awaits their knockout opponent.
Team Croatia Preview
Croatia’s qualifying group was one of even skills. UEFA Group I, had a potential of four teams who could have taken the top two spots. Croatia fought their way to second place in the group just behind Iceland and ahead of Ukraine and Turkey. Second place gave Croatia a spot in one of four playoff games. Croatia got the lucky draw and faced Greece who they beat easily 4-1 over the two-leg playoff. Croatia have had two friendly games since the playoff legs. Both games were played on neutral soil in the USA, Croatia won one and lost the other.
Croatia will need a better performance at the World Cup than what we’ve seen during the qualifiers. Croatia’s style of play relies heavily on their midfield to control the pace of the game. Their strong veteran midfielders include Modric, Rakitic and Perisic who will need support from the youngsters to assist with defensive duties. Mandzukic will score goals if he gets the ball. Even though, Croatia will have a large number of travelling fans to support the team, but their support won’t help, Croatia finishes third in this group behind Argentina and Iceland.
BEST ODDS FOR CROATIA TO WIN GROUP D
Team Nigeria Preview
Nigeria is one of five African Nations to qualify for the World Cup. Nigeria was never in any real difficulty during any of their qualifying rounds and won the final group stage with ease. However, Nigeria were shaky in their last two friendlies, but did manage to get one win and one loss, with the win coming against Poland away in Warsaw. Nigeria’s style of play is a blend of physical African football, Brazilian flair and the Dutch way of moving the ball up-field. The style sounds great but for some reason, this version loses focus from time to time in a match and with that may lose games, especially in this tough group. The current Nigerian team is a young one, with some promising up and coming youngsters like Ndidi and Iheanacho but they are led by veteran Obi Mikel. This group will be a tough one for this young club, the Super Eagles will finish last in Group D.
BEST ODDS FOR NIGERIA TO WIN GROUP D
Team Iceland Preview
In Iceland’s UEFA qualifying group, they finished first ahead of Croatia. Interestingly, Croatia is also drawn into their World Cup Group D. Iceland became the smallest nation, by population, to make it into the World Cup. In their last six friendlies, Iceland had two wins, one draw and three losses with two of these loses came in their last two games played. Iceland’s style is completely based on defensive discipline and rapid counter attack. The entire team plays defensive football first and waits to see cracks in the opponent. Once Iceland sees these cracks, they move the ball out quickly to Gilfy Sigurosson to counter-attack. Iceland will play like a team and relive some of their Euro 2016 glory. Iceland will surprise and finish second in this group.
BEST ODDS FOR ICELAND TO WIN GROUP D
Best Bet To Win Group D
Argentina is the only choice for this group, which is why their odds are very small. This is the first step in Argentina’s quest for the Cup. They want to repeat their exploits of Brazil but go one step further and become champions.
Sleeper Pick To Win Group D
NONE - BET ICELAND TO FINISH 2nd
There is no longshot to win this group as it belongs to Argentina. I just can't waste any money even attempting to pick a sleeper. I would say that the odds have Iceland as fourth favourites in this group and I think there is room for them to pull off a couple upsets. Iceland is a great bet to qualify second in this group and move onto the round of 16.
Group D Predictions
This group is a snoozer for Argentina and they should win it easily. The real battle will be for the 2nd qualifier spot with the remaining 3 teams. While most will look at Croatia to take that coveted spot don’t sleep on Iceland. They have nothing to lose and may be that cinderella team that fans rally behind.
Final Standings Prediction
- 1Argentina - 9pts
- 2Iceland - 6 Points
- 3Croatia - 4 Points
- 4Nigeria - 1 Point
Game By Game Predictions