By: Dino Bizzarro
Argentina’s shocking loss yesterday has opened up the door for Iceland to advance out of the group stage.
Iceland controls their own destiny at this point. A win today against Nigeria and a draw against Croatia would be enough to send them through.
They are still being overlooked by many who doubt they can advance in this tournament, but odds are turning in their favor.
They are a very slight favorite today over Nigeria side who looked dangerous at times against Croatia.
It’s not the skill of the Iceland players that will wow you when you watch them. In fact, you probably won’t be wowed or excited by their play at all. They are a defensive powerhouse. Iceland is a well oiled machine that utilizes their hardworking and gritty players to combine for the most organized defense at the tournament.
Iceland spends hours upon hours going over film and discussing ways to shut down the opposition. They know they don’t need a ton of possession. As long as they’re denying opportunities at their own goal- all that’s needed is one mistake by the opposition to put Iceland on the board.
Iceland only had 27% possession against Argentina, yet still found a way to squeak out a 1-1 tie. This wasn’t a fluke game though, and you can’t contribute it to Argentina’s lackluster performance in this World Cup so far.
Iceland finished first in their qualifying group, which included Croatia- whom they beat. They managed 22 points in 10 games. They also led the group in scoring with 16 goals.
With the toughest group stage game off of their plate already, they have a real opportunity to win their last 2 matches and win the group.
Their final 2 matches are against Nigeria today and Croatia on Tuesday. They’re favorites today and Croatia they beat in qualification.
If they do get out of the group, I wouldn’t count them out against any opponent- even if they end up against France in the round of 16.
The country has a little over 300 thousand people. Yet, they have the passion of modern Vikings. A nation with such unique culture- they seem to be in a whole different world at times. Their President makes sandwiches during home games at halftime. How can you not be intrigued by this team?
Author: Dino Bizzarro
Dino Bizzarro is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of YourWorld Media. He previously worked in both television and radio. In Sarasota, Florida, he starred in Game On Profiles, reporting on the top local high school athletes. During his internship with the National Journalism Center in 2017, he worked at Radio America where he co-produced the television show Behind the Curtain with host Jack Burkman. Within the last 2 years, he’s worked at WUFT in Gainesville, reporting and anchoring the local news. He is originally from Las Vegas and a rising senior at the University of Florida where he majors in telecommunications. He was also trained to wrestle by a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.