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15 Jun 2018 by Rob Esteva

2018 FIFA World Cup – Argentina vs Iceland Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Saturday 16th June, 14:00

Where? Otkritie Arena

What channel is it on? ITV1

Where can I stream the match? The match can be streamed online via ITV Player

Are tickets still available? https://www.ticketbisevents.com/en/group-d-argentina-iceland-croatia-nigeria-tickets/ca5914

THE TEAM NEWS

ARGENTINA

  • Plenty of expectation around the Argentine national team in what will arguably be their last opportunity while Lionel Messi is at the peak of his powers so there is pressure on them to do well in Russia.
  • For all their attacking talent, there are major concerns over the quality of the defensive side of their team with veteran keeper Caballero in goal and a relatively average back four with some support from the two defensive midfielders.
  • Going forward however, Sampaoli has a wealth of options at his disposal with the likes of Higuain and Dybala waiting in the wings to come off the bench and change the game if Iceland are able to frustrate them for long spells.

Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1):

Caballero

Mercado, Otamendi, Fazio, Tagliafico

Biglia, Banega

Salvio, Messi, Di Maria

Aguero

Unavailable: None

Doubtful: None

ICELAND

  • Iceland were the revelation of EURO 2016 as the smallest team ever to play at the World Cup finals will be motivated to cause more upsets but on the world stage this time especially after coming through a tough qualifying group containing Croatia and the Netherlands.
  • They have had major question marks of star playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson who missed the last three months of the season with Everton due to a knee injury but he has featured in the friendlies and will be fit to start even if 90 minutes will be a stretch here.
  • They will likely be without Gunnarsson however and that is a blow to their midfield but otherwise this is an extremely experienced and established team who will relish the opportunity to thwart this star-studded Argentine attack.

Predicted line-up (4-4-1-1):

Halldorsson

Saevarsson, R. Sigurdsson, Arnason, Skulason

J. Gudmundsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason, Gislason

G. Sigurdsson

Finnbogason

Unavailable: Gunnarsson

Doubtful: None

THE PREDICTION

A fascinating game in store here and it could be one of the better games to watch tactically in the opening set of matches. It will likely be an attack versus defence kind of game, but the Icelandic team are well capable of causing this average Argentine defence issues on the counter and from set pieces. Of course, Sampaoli’s men have the individual talent to create magic at any point, but that may not be easy early in the tournament until they get up to full speed. This could quite easily follow a similar pattern to the Argentina v Iran game back in 2014 where Argentina struggled to break down a well organised outfit. With that in mind, expect very few goals in this one.

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