Nigeria v Iceland Betting Tips & Preview – Friday 22nd June 2018

Nigerian Flag Icelandic Flag

Nigeria's World Cup campaign could come to an end as soon as this Thursday. Defeat to Iceland in the Volgograd Arena would eliminate the Super Eagles from the group with one game remaining. Can they avoid such ignominy and resurrect their hopes of making the last 16?

Iceland are guaranteed to survive at least until the final game of Group D after drawing with Argentina in their opening test. Sharing the points against last World Cup’s runner-up was quite the result for a nation with a tiny population making their first ever appearance in the competition.

Top Tips

Iceland to win @ 17/10

Under 2.5 goals @ 1/2

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Nigeria Form

After qualifying comfortably for the World Cup, Nigeria beat Argentina and Poland in two friendlies either side of the New Year. The brimming with confidence Super Eagles that scored four past the former world champions bear little similarity to the team we’ve seen since however. Nigeria have been unable to win a game since defeating Poland and this includes four defeats against European opposition. Across these matches, Gernot Rhor’s men have managed to score just one goal and it’s fair to say their attack has looked very limited. Main forward option Odion Ighalo has only netted one goal for his country since May 2016 and they look short on options.

The ex-Watford striker once again cut an isolated figure as the Super Eagles began their World Cup campaign with a loss last Saturday. His 59th minute effort was just one of just two that Nigeria were able to direct on target during a largely blunted display. After the game Rohr focussed on his side's set-piece defending rather than their attack however. Some slack marking saw Mario Mandzukic’s header deflected in while William Troost-Ekong conceded a penalty from a corner after manhandling the Juve striker. Overall it was an inexperienced showing from a side full of players who were making their World Cup debuts.

MatchDateScoreResult
Croatia v Nigeria 16th June 2018 2-0 Loss
Nigeria v Czech Republic 6th June 2018 0-1 Loss
England v Nigeria 2nd June 2018 2-1 Loss

Iceland Form

Iceland surprised many by reaching the quarter finals in the European Championships two years ago but their poor form ahead of the World Cup cast doubts if they could overcome the odds again. The Nordic nation lost tests against Mexico, Peru and Norway while they were unable to defend their lead during the 2-2 draw with Ghana. This string of results perhaps reflected a little unfairly on Iceland however who were not uncompetitive in any of the tests, even the 3-0 loss to Mexico flattered El Tri.

You wouldn't have guessed that Iceland had conceded 11 goals in four game in the run up to the World Cup when they took on Argentina. After Alfred Finnbogason cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s strike in the 23rd minute, Iceland had few real scares as they sought to defend their point. Hannes Halldorsson did deny Lionel Messi from the spot but other than this and a save from Cristian Pavon, he wasn't really tested. While it was a very defensive showing, the Icelanders weren't without chances. Birkir Bjarnason spurned a glorious opportunity early on while Sigurdsson forced Willy Caballero into a smart save in the second half.

MatchDateScoreResult
Argentina v Iceland 16th June 2018 1-1 Draw
Iceland v Ghana 7th June 2018 2-2 Draw
Iceland v Norway 2nd June 2018 2-3 Loss

Head to Head Stats

This is the first meeting between these two nations who have never had the chance to face each other before in any competition.

Injuries & Suspensions

Both managers have their full complement of 23 players to select from for this game as no players appear to be carrying any knocks or injuries.

Nigeria

  • Moses Simon - Key man during qualification forced to miss the World Cup due to a thigh injury

Iceland

  • No Injuries

Betting Tips

If Iceland are going to win a game at this World Cup then their best chance is this Thursday in a match they are the narrow favourites for.

Iceland to win

Iceland didn't look at all out of place during their World Cup debut and another solid performance can be expected from them. Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side should put in another fine defensive display while they will look to threaten the Nigeria goal during set pieces. Both Croatia’s goals against Nigeria stemmed from corners and Iceland's physically strong side can take full advantage with Gylfi Sigurdsson able to swing in accurate balls into the box.

Under 2.5 goals

While Iceland should carry a set price threat here, chances for them may be limited. They carved open a couple of good chances against Argentina but they are not a side known for their attacking creativity. The same can be said for Nigeria who have only scored one goal in their last five matches. Defences are likely to come out on top in this contest, making under 2.5 goals a safe looking option.

Iceland 1-0

If Iceland can get the lead in this game they will certainly not take any chances pushing for another. They are a side who are happy to sit back and soak up the pressure especially as they have a trusted pair of hands between the posts. As Nigeria don’t look especially capable of knocking down an Icelandic wall, a 1-0 scoreline is worthy of consideration at a price of 6/1.

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