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  1. #1
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    Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

    World Cup 2018: Argentina favorites to qualify from Group D

    At first glance, two-time World Cup winners Argentina look to have been given a fairly friendly draw. In truth, however, there is quality throughout this group. Croatia may have needed to come through the European playoffs, but they were one of the best sides at Euro 2016. Nigeria have a handful of excellent attacking players and sailed through a tricky qualifying group. And Iceland, as we saw at Euro 2016, can shock anyone. If Argentina aren’t at their best, this could be a fascinating mess.

    Argentina
    It took for Lionel Messi to score three goals in the last qualifying match for Argentina to make it to the World Cup but now that they’re in the tournament, it’s hard not to look at them as one of the favorites. It’s confounding that a team with so many world class players finds a way to consistently struggle, even with Jorge Sampaoli who was supposed to finally balance the team but could lead the team to only one win out of four games.

    But this is still a team with Messi, Mauro Icardi, Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, Ever Banega, Javier Pastore, Angel Correa and Gonzalo Higuain, just not in the Final.

    It’s do or die for this crop of Argentina players, and anything less than a win will be one more disappointment to add to a history of failures. Losing in three straight tournament Finals in the waning minutes and extra time has to have some lasting psychological effect on the players, but they will have to overcome that to fulfill the potential that everyone knows they have.

    Key player: Lionel Messi

    The best player of our generation and arguably the best player to ever play the game, and this will probably be his last chance to win the World Cup. It has to be his best performance. Even though Argentina is full of great players, they are entirely dependent on his ability. Whatever success they will have will have to come by his left foot.

    Iceland
    Before now, Iceland have never made the World Cup. They’re the smallest country ever to qualify for it. They only even made their first European Championship tournament in 2016 and made it all the way to the quarterfinals before going out. They’re a fun team that plays fascinating football, and they proved with a dominating qualifying run in a tricky group that their 2016 run was no fluke. Now they’re ready to take an even bigger step forward as a national team.

    Iceland play a tactical brand of football, but where that kind of phrase is usually associated with dire, overly defensive game plans, Iceland’s approach is anything but. They run well-coordinated patterns of movement for both their passing attack and defensive setups that often seem to leave opponents mystified, and they do it with incredible consistency.

    They’re not the most outright talented team in the World Cup by a long ways, but they’ve got a lot of underrated players who play way above their level as a unit, and that’s always a good recipe for a surprise result or three in a big tournament.

    Key player: Gylfi Sigurđsson

    Sigurđsson hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons with Everton so far — no Everton players have, to be honest — but his lethal skill on set pieces and ability to create magic from open play still leaves him as the most crucial part of Iceland’s squad. He’s their best playmaker by far and the top goalscorer in the squad, and no matter what they do to approach a given match, he’s going to be at the heart of it.

    Croatia
    In a world where football results were awarded for style, Croatia might just be going into the 2018 World Cup as the reigning European champions. Their 2-1 victory over Spain at Euro 2016 was the performance of the tournament and raised the very real possibility that this generation of players might go further than the great generation of the mid-’90s. Then they ran into Portugal and got smothered.

    Qualification for Russia started well, then nosedived. Coach Ante Čačić was sacked following losses to Iceland and Turkey and a draw with Finland, and Zlatko Dalić took over with just one game left, a winner-takes-the-playoffs game against Ukraine. They won that then dispatched Greece to secure their place, though they made short work of Greece. But off-field matters have rather soured the achievement: Thanks to a complex and still-emerging mess of corruption allegations involving players and administrators, support for the side is at a low ebb.

    Key player: Luka Modric.

    Now 32, this will perhaps be our last chance to enjoy Luka Modric at a major international tournament. Let's hope it goes well, then, because in form he's one of the most delightful midfielders going — a creative presence who makes everybody around him better and occasionally scores beautiful goals for himself, too.

    Nigeria
    African qualifying had a clear group of death, and Nigeria was in it. Any of their opponents — Zambia, Cameroon or Algeria — would have had a good chance to get out of any other group. But the Super Eagles coasted past all of them, going undefeated and finishing six points clear. At the moment, Nigeria appears to be the clear class of Africa and the continent’s best hope at making a deep run.

    John Obi Mikel continues to be the veteran leader of this team, but the rest of the squad has been made over considerably in recent years, and most of the starters in Russia will be 25 or younger. Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho have emerged as star players in the attack, joining up with the top performers from the generation slightly older, Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses.

    Key player: Alex Iwobi

    Mikel and Moses might be the leaders, but Iwobi will be the difference maker. He’s the most creative player in the side and will need to be at his best for Nigeria to make a deep run.

    Prediction
    Argentina
    Nigeria
    Croatia
    Iceland

    https://www.sbnation.com/2017/12/1/1...igeria-croatia


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  2. #2
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    I love Iceland's team. Good passing, defense, excellent set-pieces, team chemistry and toughness.

  3. #3
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    Really want Messi to finally win the tournament. Although his supporting cast in Argentina just isn't that strong. For some reason the coach also makes dumb decisions like sticking with Higuain who has single handedly cost argentina each of the last 3 finals they were in. Meanwhile Icardi will be watching from home despite being one of the hottest strikers in Europe this season.

    Unlike at Barca where there are multiple threats, the argentina team is too easy to shut down because if the defense double teams Messi, there is nobody else who can consistently score. If they do win, Di Maria and Ageuro are going to have to have a phenomenal tournament.


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  4. #4
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    Argentina World Cup squad: Paulo Dybala included but Mauro Icardi misses out on 23-man group for Rus

    Paulo Dybala has been included in Argentina’s 23-man World Cup squad as part of a fearsome attacking line-up, but Inter’s Mauro Icardi has missed out on a place in the squad.

    Jorge Sampaoli selected Dybala alongside Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain as one of the most potent strikeforces heading to Russia but omitted Icardi despite his 29 Serie A goals this season.

    The squad is talented but inexperienced, with the 14 players never having been to a World Cup before, and it is not immediately clear how Argentina will line-up for their first game, against Iceland on Saturday 16 June.

    “We’ve decided on these names after a lot of analysis in every position,” said Sampaoli. ”Cristian Ansaldi can play on either side. Meza gives you options either on the outside or on the inside of the pitch.

    “I spoke with Messi and I saw him as very enthusiastic for what’s coming up. Physically, he’s doing well. Sergio Aguero has been training normally since last week. Mercado won’t have any problems. We will see how Biglia arrives.”

    Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero, Franco Armani

    Defenders: Gabriel Mercado, Javier Mascherano, Nicolas Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna, Cristian Ansaldi

    Midfielders: Manuel Lanzini, Maximiliano Meza, Lucas Biglia, Ever Banega, Giovani Lo Celso, Angel Di Maria, Cristian Pavon, Eduardo Salvio

    Forwards: Paulo Dybala, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain.


    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/...-a8362096.html

  5. #5
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    This is another group that will be great fun to watch mainly because Croatia / Nigeria/ and Iceland are all capable of advancing the match I will be looking forward to will be Nigeria vs Argentina they always have good and close matches with each other.

    Prediction
    Argentina
    Croatia
    Nigeria
    Iceland

  6. #6
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    Argentina and Croatia will qualify.

  7. #7
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    Cape Town - Argentina were inspired by talisman Lionel Messi as the Barcelona forward put in a mesmerising performance by scoring a hat-trick in their 4-0 2018 Soccer World Cup warm-up win over Haiti on Tuesday.

    Javier Mascherano became the most capped player for Argentina - overtaking Javier Zanetti - by making his 143rd appearance.

    Messi took little time to open the scoring when he confidently scored from the penalty spot after just 17 minutes.

    He doubled their lead 12 minutes into the second half with a simple tap-in after the goalkeeper could only parry a header, scored Argentina's third after 65 minutes, and then set up Sergio Aguero to make it four just two minutes later.

    Argentina failed to add to their tally but should have been further ahead against Haiti, whose sole appearance at the World Cup finals came in 1974 and are ranked 108th in the world, 103 places below them in the world rankings.

    "More than the result we were able to say goodbye to our fans and show that we are going to Russia with hope," Messi said.

    "We're not going as favourites because we had a complicated time in the qualifiers, but we are training well and we will give it our all."

    Aguero was fit again after a knee injury but began the game on the bench, with Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria starting up front alongside Messi.

    However, both men failed to shine and instead it was Aguero and Boca Juniors' Christian Pavon who staked their claim for a World Cup place when they came on after an hour.

    Argentina now fly to Barcelona to prepare for World Cup matches against Iceland on June 16, Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on June 26.

    https://www.sport24.co.za/Soccer/Wor...rm-up-20180530


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  8. #8
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    West Ham's Argentina midfielder Manuel Lanzini will miss the World Cup after suffering a ruptured anterior knee ligament injury in training.

    Lanzini was named in Jorge Sampaoli's 23-man squad last month.

    The 25-year-old made 27 appearances for West Ham in the Premier League last season, scoring five goals.

    Argentina begin their World Cup campaign against Iceland on 16 June before games against Croatia and Nigeria in Group D.

    Lanzini started Argentina's 4-0 friendly win over Haiti last week.

    Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Angel Di Maria, Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Pavon, Maximiliano Meza and Eduardo Salvio are the other midfielders in Sampaoli's squad.

    Sampaoli is already without Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who also a knee injury, and has replaced him with Tigres' Nahuel Guzman.

    Argentina have yet to announce a replacement for Lanzini.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44413629

  9. #9
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    Enzo Perez has been added to Argentina's World Cup squad as a replacement for Manuel Lanzini.

    West Ham midfielder Lanzini was ruled out of the tournament after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in training on Friday.

    River Plate midfielder Perez, 32, has won 23 caps - including in the 2014 final, which they lost to Germany.

    Argentina are in Group D with Iceland - whom they play in their 16 June opener - as well as Nigeria and Croatia.

    Argentina squad
    Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Willy Caballero (Chelsea), Franco Armani (River Plate).

    Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Federico Fazio (Roma), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nicolas Taglafico (Ajax), Javier Mascherano (Hebei Fortune), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino).

    Midfielders: Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Angel di Maria, Giovani lo Celso (both Paris St-Germain), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Enzo Perez (River Plate).

    Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala (both Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44425773

  10. #10
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    So can Messi do something special? #ARSISL


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  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Argentina in trouble.


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  13. #13
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    I kinda feel sad for Messi. Just want Argentina to go through so that we can have some more of Messi V Ronaldo competition

  14. #14
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    Argentina lost, that to 3-0

    Croatia has qualified for the next round

    Argentina is now going to have to hope other results as well as beat Nigeria (or I guess they can beat them convincingly)

  15. #15
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  16. #16
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  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Ultimate group of death.

    Croats are through as champs, and that gives little advantage to Ice Land. That missed penalty has made life a little easy for Argentina; but my hunch is the game Nigeria played in 2nd half, it won't be easy for Argentina to win with their defense, Nigeria will score, Messi & co. have to out score them.

  19. #19
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    Croatia Player Kicked Out Of World Cup Squad And Sent Home In Disgrace


    On Saturday afternoon, former Blackburn Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic was on the substitutes bench for the fourth consecutive game against the Super Eagles

    And when manager Zlatko Dalic asked him to come on in the 85th minute, he straight up refused.

    Kalinic reportedly complained about a back problem, but it clearly didn't go down well.

    Kalinic, who currently plays for Fiorentina but spent last season on loan at AC Milan, has been linked with a move away from Italy in recent weeks but these actions could hamper a move.

    http://www.sportbible.com/football/n...-home-20180618

  20. #20
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    This group living up to what was expected - really hard-fought.

    Croatia look a class outfit though and look as good as any team in the tournament at the moment.



  21. #21
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    I hope nigeria can go through and upset Argentina

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextover666666 View Post
    I hope nigeria can go through and upset Argentina
    That won't be an upset. Argentina have been very sloppy, disorganized and deserve to go out. It seems they have themselves given up.

    Although Nigeria are also not a very disciplined side either.


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  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    Volgograd - Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson declared his side were still in the race for a place in the World Cup last 16 despite Friday's 2-0 loss to Nigeria.

    Iceland's fate is no longer in their own hands, however, as Nigeria will join Croatia as qualifiers from Group D if they beat Argentina on Tuesday.

    But any other result in that match could see Iceland squeeze through with a victory against familiar opponents Croatia at the same time.

    Iceland went through ahead of Croatia in UEFA qualifying to reach Russia while the Eastern Europeans needed a playoff to secure their place.

    "It's a strange fact that we are still in the race," Hallgrimsson told reporters after the match. "We didn't think we would go through this World Cup without a loss and losses are always difficult to swallow.

    "I have to hail my players, they gave everything, they tried what they could but it was just not our day in so many ways."

    He said he had been impressed with the Luka Modric-inspired side, who are already through from Group D thanks to a stunning 3-0 win over Argentina on Thursday.

    "We only need to beat Croatia," he said with a smile. "Which is possibly easier to say than do.

    "We've played Croatia four times in four years and we've often said we're like a married couple trying to get divorced but we always meet up again.

    "They have had two really, really good performances in the World Cup. The last one was a shining example of how good Croatia is."

    Two stunning second-half goals from Ahmed Musa sunk Iceland, who faded badly after half-time and missed an 82nd minute penalty, which could have given them a lifeline, when Gylfi Sigurddsson blazed over the bar.

    Croatia sit pretty with six points at the top of Group D. Nigeria are second on three points while Iceland and Argentina have just one point apiece from their opening 1-1 draw, though Lionel Messi's side are bottom on goal difference.

    - AFP


    https://www.sport24.co.za/Soccer/Wor...-boss-20180622

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by waqar goraya View Post
    That won't be an upset. Argentina have been very sloppy, disorganized and deserve to go out. It seems they have themselves given up.



    Although Nigeria are also not a very disciplined side either.
    Very true this Argentina team looks bad but it would still be an upset since Nigeria was not suspected to advance a win or draw should see them through

  26. #26
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    So Croatia has to beat Iceland and Argentina has to beat Nigeria. Hopefully they avail of this chance.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadBall View Post
    So Croatia has to beat Iceland and Argentina has to beat Nigeria. Hopefully they avail of this chance.
    Croatia Iceland draw would also be enough if Argentina beat Nigeria.


    " Don't wait. The time will never be just right "

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