Group D leaders Croatia seek a third win on the bounce when they face Iceland in Rostov.
Pre-tournament, Zlatko Dalić’s men were certainly tipped to progress from the group with hot favourites Argentina, but not in such comfortable fashion. The Blazers have scored five and kept two clean sheets in 180 minutes of action.
Where and when: Rostov Arena – 26 June, kick-off 19:00
Where you can see Iceland vs. Croatia: BBC
Last time: Hörður Björgvin Magnússon scored the only goal when the nations met in World Cup qualifying in June 2017. The winner came in stoppage time and lifted Iceland above the group favourites who ultimately had to settle for a play-off berth.
|Croatia to win 3-0||22/1||Offer|
|A penalty to be awarded||7/4||Offer|
|Over 2.5 goals||11/10||Offer|
Iceland v Croatia Predictions and Preview
The World Cup has thrown up some absorbing matches so far, but none more so than the Croatia versus Argentina duel. The Blazers thoroughly deserved their 3-0 win against one of the competition favourites and it could have been a lot worse for Jorge Sampaoli’s embarrassed men. For all La Albiceleste’s rich attacking talent, they simply do not resemble a team and Croatia taught them a real lesson.
Dalić, of course, has some phenomenal options at his own disposal, but crucially has his players performing as a real unit and they have been led by talisman and skipper Luka Modric. The Real Madrid midfielder may be advancing in his years but put in an outstanding display against the South Americans and deserves all the plaudits he receives.
In Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovačić and Marcelo Brozović, Croatia possess probably the best midfield at the World Cup and not many sides will want to face them. The frontrunners in the group are 11/8 to pick up another triumph.
Meanwhile, opponents Iceland are still in the reckoning and have proved their EURO 2016 adventure was no fluke. The Nordics won their qualifying group that included Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey, claiming seven wins from 10 fixtures and only conceding seven goals.
While they certainly frustrated Argentina in the opening group match, they also gave a good account of themselves going forward and it promises to be a fascinating watch between two overperforming countries. Iceland are 2/1 to chalk up three points while a draw is 9/4.
One to watch for Iceland: Gylfi Sigurðsson averages a goal every three games for his country and is a major threat from set pieces. The Everton midfielder is 15/2 to net anytime during the encounter.
One to watch for Croatia: Mario Mandžukić has so far been quiet by his usually high standards and needs to step up, particularly after deputy Nikola Kalinić was sent home from Russia. The Juventus hitman is 15/4 in the same market.
Long shot: Croatia look formidable going forward and resolute at the back and this is gradually being reflected in the tournament odds. The Blazers are currently seventh ranked to lift the trophy but another dominant showing could see this position rise even further, especially with doubts over Germany’s continued participation. Croatia are 35/1 to record a 3-0 result against Iceland.