DISCLAIMER: ODDS AND ARTICLE UPDATED 03/06/2018, 17:42.
Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria are set to battle it out in Group D for a place in the knockout stage of the World Cup and we will look at a few betting options with these World Cup tips.
Iceland’s rise to prominence as a footballing nation stemmed from a superb showing at Euro 2016 when they reached the quarter-final before finding France a step too far. They carried that form into World Cup qualification and topped their group, with seven wins and a draw from 10 games to qualify automatically for Russia 2018.
They seem overpriced to make it out of their group this summer despite the fact that this is their first experience of a World Cup Finals. It is true that results since they qualified have not been so great but, as witnessed at the European Championship, when this side gets on a roll their fanatical supporters become like a 12th man.
Their clash with Croatia may well be pivotal and, as the sides beat each other once in qualification, it is all to play for.
Argentina were runners-up to Germany in Rio four years ago and that loss still smarts with a football-mad nation. They can boast arguably the best player in the world in Lionel Messi who has seemingly made it his mission to lift the trophy and put the seal on a stellar career.
It was down to the Barcelona man that La Albiceleste reached the Russia showpiece as he scored an incredible hat-trick when they beat Ecuador in the final round of qualifiers to seal their place in the tournament. He is desperate for international success and a glance at the Argentina squad suggests they have a solid chance of going all the way.
Players of the calibre of Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria will all be on show and it would be shock if they failed to reach the business end of proceedings.
Nigeria made it to Russia with ease and, while the World Cup odds suggest they might struggle to become the first African winners of the event, they could end up as the continent’s top side.
The Super Eagles do have experience of the world’s greatest sporting event with five appearances in the finals, and a march to the round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and four years ago is their best result to date. African sides can be unpredictable but they do possess an abundance of talent and players who have done it at the biggest clubs.
English fans will be familiar with the likes of John Obi Mikel, Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho, and if Gernot Rohr can get them playing as a unit, then there is every chance that they might ruffle a few feathers.
The World Cup betting has Senegal as 9/4 favourites to be top African nation, with Egypt (5/2) next in the market but I can see Nigeria outdoing them all.
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