Iceland vs Croatia
World Cup Group D
Date: Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Kick-Off at 19:00 UK / 20:00 CET
Venue: Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don.
Croatia continued to impress at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. After easing past Nigeria 2-0 in the opener, the 1998 third-place winners smashed South American heavyweights Argentina 3-0 to book a place von the knockout phase.
- Only a miracle would drop them down from the top, but a draw here would mathematically secure the top-spot finish and likable clash with Denmark in the last 16.
- Croatia have secured the last 16 round in some fashion, beating Argentina 3-0 on Thursday.
- Head coach Zlatko Dalic will allegedly rest his main stars for the knockout phase in this final game of the group stage against Iceland.
- Iceland need a victory here and rely on a positive result from the other game between Nigeria and Argentina in order to progress.
Iceland Croatia Match Preview
Iceland brought an encouraging effort to hold Argentina to a 1-1 draw on the opening day and just when everyone expected to see them capitalize on such success, the Scandinavians disappointed heavily to lose 2-0 to Nigeria on Friday afternoon.
They can still pass the group with the victory here, but it has to be by a margin close to the one of Argentina’s against Nigeria. Are the Super Eagles to beat Los Gauchos in St. Petersburg, Iceland’s potential upset against Croatia would count for little.
The mentioned loss to the African outfit was the first ever for the Vikings at a major tournament (counting EURO and World Cup). They had the chance to get back in the contest, but Everton’s playmaker and team’s main star Gylfi Sigrdsson fired wide from the spot to waste a huge chance after Ebueho’s challenge on Alfred Finbogasson.
Croatia, on the other side, look to have been in complete control of their second-round contest with Argentina from the very get go. They gave away the possession and carefully waited for the chance to strike.
It eventually came just after the restart when Ante Rebic took advantage of a terrible chipped ball from Chelsea’s reserve keeper Willy Caballero to volley it home and put Zlatko Dalic’s men ahead.
Luka Modric then doubled the lead with a fabulous effort from outside the box, while Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic tapped the ball into the empty-net after a pass from substitute Mateo Kovacic to make it 3-0 thee final score.
Iceland vs Croatia Team News and Predicted Line-ups
Iceland Team News
- Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has issues with injured winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson who will likely skip the final game in the group against Croatia as well.
- Rurik Gislason was used as an alternative solution instead of Gudmundsson against Nigeria and we expect to see him in the squad here as well.
- Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came on for Emil Halfredsson in the starting line-up.
Iceland Predicted Starting Eleven (4-4-2)
Haldorsson – Saevarsson, Arnason, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Magnusson – Gislason, Gunnarsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bjarnason – Bodvarsson, Finnbogason.
Croatia Team News
- Dalic made only a single chance to the squad that defeated Nigeria, Marcelo Brozovic replacing Andrej Kramaric in the starting XI.
- We expect to see a host of changes here against Iceland.
- Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Lovren, Mandzukic and Rebic should all be left out and rested here.
Croatia Predicted Starting Eleven (4-1-4-1)
Subasic – Pivaric, Caleta-Car, Jedvaj, Strinic – Brozovic – Pjaca, Badelj, Kovacic, Bradaric – Kramaric.
Iceland vs Croatia Head-to-head
Iceland and Croatia battled each other during the qualifying campaign which saw the Scandinavian outfit surprisingly finish top of the standings ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Teams picked up a clean sheet win apiece in front of the home crowd during the run. Interestingly, the two sides were rivals in the WC Qualification campaigns back in 2006 and 2014 as well.
Overall, Croatia had much more success winning four, drawing one and losing one of six meetings with Iceland. Only one of these six affairs saw goals at both ends.
Iceland vs Croatia Prediction
The Croatian manager Zlatko Dalic announced that he will give rest to his main stars in order to have them fresh for the knockout stage, regardless of the opposition there. As the Blazers have already have already secured the last 16 round, we will thus likely see the likes of Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic all rested here.
Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean Iceland will win the match as Croatia certainly possess quality on the bench as well. Andrej Kramaric will lead the line, while nobody an underestimate the midfield with Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic.
Croatia head into this off the back of three consecutive wins which have seen them bag seven goals in the process. Knowing they are up against Iceland who shipped two or goals in five of last six games, we have to find the value in backing the Blazers to score two or more goals at the odds of 2.37. Croatia’s victory is also worth backing at 2.25.
- Predicted Full-Time Result is another win for Croatia which would see them top the group with the perfect record of nine points from three games.
Iceland vs Croatia Betting Tips
Croatia to win @ 2.25.
Croatia Over 1.5 Team Goals @ 2.37.
Correct FT Score: 2-0 Croatia @ 10.00.