We've got a couple of recommended selections from Tuesday's Group D games as goals are expected in Argentina's must-win game with Nigeria.
Recommended World Cup bets
Scenario: This is where it gets complicated! Argentina need to win against Nigeria on Tuesday and hope that Iceland do not beat Croatia, who have already qualified. A win for Nigeria would see them qualify and even a draw would be good enough unless Iceland win by at least two clear goals.
- Nigeria 2-2 Argentina
- Iceland 0-3 Croatia
Nigeria v Argentina (1900 BST - BBC One)
Nigeria kept Argentina in this world Cup by beating Iceland, but now they can put them out once and for all with a win or draw against Lionel Messi’s men – who need three points to stand a chance of remaining in Russia.
They would still need Croatia to get something against Iceland but would be relatively confident of that depending on the team Croatia put out. Getting that win against Nigeria is no given though.
Comfortably beaten by Croatia, Nigeria were vastly improved against Iceland and their pace and power both up front and in midfield should cause real headaches for what has looked a static midfield and rear guard for Argentina.
A best price of 5/1 on Nigeria to win looks generous on what we’ve seen from both sides so far, while the draw at 7/2 appeals if Argentina are anywhere near as bad as they have been in this tournament.
They have four World Cup wins over Nigeria though, and they’ll surely have to throw the kitchen sink at them from the start, but that could play into the hands of the Super Eagles, especially the in-form Ahmed Musa.
After two goals in his last game, and two goals in his last World Cup game against Argentina, 12/1 for him to score first looks on the big side, as does a stand out 9/2 (Unibet) to score given how dodgy Argentina's defence has looked.
Given all that, even money on over 2.5 goals in the match is worth considering, as is the 21/10 from Paddy Power on there to be a penalty as it could get desperate for a notably touchy Argentina side.
Prediction: Nigeria 2-2 Argentina (Sky Bet odds:)
Best Bet: Ahmed Musa to score anytime at 9/2
- Four of the eight games between Nigeria and Argentina have come at World Cup finals – Argentina winning all four contests.
- Nigeria have faced Argentina in the group stages in each of their last three World Cups (2002, 2010, 2014).
- Nigeria’s most recent encounter with Argentina came in November 2017, with the Super Eagles winning 4-2 in Krasnodar, thanks in part to a brace from Alex Iwobi.
- Argentina are currently enduring their longest winless run in World Cup finals history, (W0 D2 L2).
- Argentina have never previously gone through a first round World Cup group stage without at least one victory before.
- All six of Nigeria’s wins at the World Cup have come against European opposition, with the Super Eagles drawing two and losing five against nations from other continents.
- Nigeria are looking to win successive World Cup games for the first time since 1998 – three points will also guarantee a place in the knockout stages for the fourth time.
- Argentina’s Lionel Messi has had 12 shots in this World Cup so far but has yet to score – that’s eight more attempts than any other Argentina player.
Iceland v Croatia (1900 BST - BBC Four)
In what could be a make or break game for Euro 2016 surprise package Iceland, Croatia look to complete a clean sweep of Group D to qualify in top spot with maximum points.
Iceland recorded an impressive draw against Argentina in their opener, but after Croatia disposed of Argentina and Iceland fell to the Nigerian Super Eagles, the Icelanders are now staring down the barrel of elimination.
One saving grace, however, could be their opposition’s team selection. With Croatia already through, and in need of just a point to top the group, they could opt to play a much changed XI in hopes of keeping their stars fresh for a potential round of 16 clash with Denmark, Australia or even France.
We’ve seen Iceland’s defensive resilience against Lionel Messi and co., and should they grab a goal, they could make it very difficult for Croatia to break them down. Iceland allowed Argentina to have the ball in midfield, and sat with banks of four to defend and counter, and this approach could nullify Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric’s influence - should they feature.
Iceland’s solitary goal of the tournament came thanks to Alfred Finnbogason, who swept away his chance in the group opener, and he looks their biggest threat once again. However, a strong Croatia side would make life very difficult for them.
Luka Modric has been arguably the player of the tournament so far, with two goals and two midfield masterclasses, and the Real Madrid man looks the best bet at 5/1 to sweep the FIFA Man of the Match award once more.
The number 10 is always involved in his side’s play from box-to-box and could inspire his side to top spot.
Prediction: Iceland 0-3 Croatia (Sky Bet odds: 22/1)
- This will be the seventh different meeting between Iceland and Croatia but the first in a major tournament, with all of their previous encounters coming in World Cup qualifiers.
- Iceland and Croatia met in World Cup 2018 qualifying – both sides winning their home fixtures (Croatia 2-0 and Iceland 1-0).
- Iceland's only previous victory against Croatia came in the qualifying stages for this tournament, drawing one and losing four otherwise.
- Croatia have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four World Cup games, as many as they had in their previous 12 in the competition.
- Croatia have already guaranteed their place in the World Cup knockout stages, just their second appearance. They’ve never finished top in the group stage, finishing in second place when qualifying in 1998.
- Iceland are without a win in their last eight games (D3 L5) – their longest winless run since September 2011 (9 games).
- Croatia’s Luka Modric has scored with both of his shots on target so far at the 2018 World Cup.
- Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson attempted just three shots in his last game against Nigeria, with his first two shots landing on target in the first six minutes, and his other shot missing the target from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute.
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Posted at 1645 BST on 25/06/18.
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