Argentina vs Iceland preview, betting tips and prediction
Both teams to score @ 13/8 with Coral
Argentina come into this World Cup in a shambolic state. Their qualifying campaign was fraught with poor results and poorer performances. The friendlies between then and now haven’t done much to instill belief into this Argentina team, the 6-1 defeat to Spain exposing their inferiority to the world. However, any team with Lionel Messi cannot be ruled out. It’s unlikely that this will be Messi’s last World Cup but it could be the last World Cup that he could thoroughly dominate.
If Argentina’s biggest problem is getting a bunch of stars to play like a team then Iceland’s could be getting a team to play like stars. They’re one of the most cohesive groups on the international scene. The smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup, they have a squad packed with experience and desire. Their Euro 2016 exploits taught the world not to underestimate them. They could take advantage of Argentina’s fragile mental state.
The aforementioned 6-1 drubbing by Spain aside, Argentina were also on the end of a 4-2 pounding by Nigeria back in November. Victories since the end of qualifying have come against middling opposition such as Haiti or top-class teams that failed to qualify for the tournament in Russia, such as Italy. Cancelled a bunch of recent friendlies for political reasons.
The run-in for Iceland hasn’t been ideal. They’ve failed to win any of their last four matches, meaning they haven’t beaten any opponent worth mentioning since qualifying.
Manuel Lanzini had to be sent home after damaging his knee ligaments in training. Enzo Perez of River Plate was drafted in as his replacement.
Iceland are still sweating over the fitness of talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson, who will almost certainly be involved in some way in their opening match.