The clash between Nigeria and Iceland will be played at Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on June 22nd. Nigeria displayed one of the most disappointing games at the tournament in a loss to Croatia and must improve drastically if they want to keep their Round of 16 dreams alive, while Iceland will be highly motivated coming on the wings of a huge draw against Argentina.
Nigeria vs. Iceland
Three-Way: 1: Nigeria +190; X: +220 Draw; 2: Iceland +170 (Odds provided by Delaware Park Sportsbook)
Spread 0: Nigeria +106; Iceland -116
Total 2.5 goals: Over +150; Under -182
Sign up for a FREE Trial Consultation to start working with Legendary Sports Bettor Jon Price
Nigeria wasn’t expected to beat Croatia in the first round, but their poor performance was quite disappointing as they didn’t create a clear goalscoring opportunity for the entire 90 minutes. The Super Eagles defended relatively well in the opening 30 minutes, but Oghenekaro Etebo’s unlucky own goal in the 32nd minute gave the Croatians a 1-0 lead.
The Blazers led at halftime and even though Nigeria tried to tie the score in the second half, they couldn’t do anything against the sturdy defense, while they made another defensive error on the other end as William Troost-Ekong conceded a silly penalty after holding Mario Mandzukic in the box. Luka Modric easily converted it to double Croatia’s lead, so if you had them to win in both halves at +160, you made a nice profit.
An awful display from the Nigerians and their inability to score sent the game to under 2.5 goals at -135, while Croatia’s win at -143 didn’t let down the punters who believed in the Blazers.
On the other hand, Iceland fought bravely and completely deserved a huge point against favored Argentina after one of the best defensive displays we’ve seen at the tournament. The Our Boys destroyed the bookies with a 1-1 draw at +450, despite the Albiceleste’s early lead through Sergio Aguero as Alfred Finnbogason equalized only four minutes later for the joy of all those who had both teams to score at +120.
Argentina continued with the siege of Iceland’s goal, but they couldn’t score another goal, not even from the penalty spot as fantastic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson saved Leo Messi’s shot in the 64th minute which additionally lifted Iceland’s spirit.
Players to watch
Victor Moses couldn’t get the things going against Croatia, but his fortunes could change this time around. The Our Boys know how important the Chelsea man is for his national side, and will try to shut him down.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had one or two chances against Argentina and he will likely have more freedom on this one, so I expect the No. 10 to pose the biggest threat to the Nigerians. He can be lethal from the set-pieces and I believe the Super Eagles will struggle in that department.
Nigeria: Uzoho; Abdullahi, Balogun, Ekong, idowu; Etebo, Ndidi; Moses, Mikel, Iwobi (Iheanacho); Ighalo (Musa).
Iceland: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, G. Sigurdsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason.
Nigeria’s chances to lift the trophy in Russia are +100000, while the Super Eagles are +2500 to make it to the quarter-finals. Iceland’s chances to win the World Cup are up to +20000, while the Our Boys are +900 to reach the quarter-finals.
Iceland to win at +170 are quite attractive considering the teams’ respective displays in the opening round, and although I think that Nigeria couldn’t possibly do any worse than against Croatia, the Our Boys are closer to the victory in my opinion.
The Pick: Iceland to win (+170)