2018 FIFA World Cup Group D Preview
Matchup at a GlanceWhere: Russia
Date & Time: June 14 – July 15, 2018
Quick Picks: France at 6/1, Germany at 9/2, Brazil at 5/1, Spain at 7/1, Croatia at 40/1, Iceland at 200/1
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is just a few months away and in this article, we will take a look at and preview the teams competing from Group D. Group D teams will consist of Argentina, Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.
Each of these teams will play in Group play from June 16 thru June 26. The Winners of Group D will face the Runners-Up of Group C. The Runners-Up in Group D will advance and take on the Winners of Group C.
Argentina qualified for the FIFA World Cup by finishing 3rd in CONMEBOL on the final day, winning 3-1 over Ecuador. Argentina are two time champions of the FIFA World Cup, winning the tournament in 1978 and 1986. In addition to winning on two occasions, they have made it to the finals five times. They are coached by Jorge Sampaoli, who routinely plays an uptempo style of play and now looks to get back to the finals this year in the World Cup. Argentina is led by Lionel Messi and they should put together a nice 1st place run.
Croatia qualified for the FIFA World Cup by winning a 4-1 aggregate playoff match over Greece, which put them 2nd place in Europe’s Group I. This will be Croatia’s 4th appearance in FIFA World Cup. Their best finish was in 1998 when they finished in 3rd place. They are coached by Zlatko Dalic, who replaced Ante Cacic in October 2017. Croatia will narrowly sneak past Nigeria and Iceland into 2nd place with the use of Luka Modric and Ivan Raktic.
Iceland will be playing with a ton of motivation here as this is their first ever FIFA World Cup. They are the smallest team per capita for size of country population ever to qualify for a World Cup but that doesn’t mean they are any less talented. They are led by Heimir Hallgrimsson, who was was previously the co-head coach with Lars Lagerback. Hallgrimsson has taken over the team and has now led them to their first ever FIFA World Cup.
Iceland is playing with a ton of motivation and are one of the biggest stories of the World Cup. They made a dreamlike run in the Euro Championships before being beaten handidly by France in the semis. Please keep in mind that the scheduling of the group is just as important as who they face. Iceland, who is everyone's sweetheart team, could also end up being the fall guys here. As much as we would love for them to try and repeat their historic 2014 run, it will be a challenge! They are the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup 2018. This is certainly a great time for Iceland football and Spooky will actually be heading to Iceland in May 2018 to see first hand the excitement of this great nation! They have won the hearts of of football fans all around the glove with their performance and will surely be hoping to make a mark in Russia.
Just 5 years ago, they had a world ranking hovering around 130th and no one could have foreseen them qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, let alone making it back to back in 2018. It took many years and the combined effort of coaches and players. Their current FIFA ranking is 20th. By any standard, this is a huge achievement and it will surely go down in the history books as one of the greatest success stories. It has brought Iceland on the map like never before.
Nigeria has appeared in 5 FIFA World Cup’s and have made it to the round of 16 on three occasions. They made the round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014. They are coached by Gernot Rohr, who is one of the most experienced coaches in Africa. With the coaches experience and their history in the World Cup, Nigeria has to be considered one of the outside shots at winning but we will lean to the fact that other teams are stronger and should finish higher in Group play.
June 16 Argentina vs. Iceland Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow, Russia
June 16 Croatia vs. Nigeria Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad, Russia
June 21 Argentina vs. Croatia Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny, Novgorod
June 22 Nigeria vs. Iceland Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia
June 26 Nigeria vs. Argentina Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia
June 26 Iceland vs. Croatia Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don, Russia
Spooky Express Winning Picks for World Cup Group D
Every team in Group D legitimately has a chance to making it to the knockout round. I would not recommend you underestimating any of these teams because every single match will matter. Argentina will scrape by and win this group with a battle between Iceland as our longshot and Croatia as another long shot for 2nd place with both sneaking past Nigeria for 3rd place.