Argentina meets Iceland in World Cup Group D opener

Argentina and Iceland will meet in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in the first ever encounter between the two teams.

The Argentinians are expected to win the clash against the Europeans because of their football history, as the Latin American nation had won the World Cup twice, 1978 and 1986.

Argentina consists of top class players like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuiain and Paulo Dybala, and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero as well as midfielder Angel Di Maria.

The match will be played in Spartak Stadium, and it will be Messi to watch during the game.

Messi, five-time Ballon d’Or winner, hinted he could retire from international football following the World Cup, but added that this would depend on how far the team would go.

Underdog Iceland are making their World Cup debut, and is the smallest ever nation to reach the finals.

This is their second major international championship following Euro 2016, when they beat England and reached quarter-finals.

Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said the team would try its best to stop Argentina’s attacks, including the ones launched by Messi. “We will do it together. We will help each other and try to do it as a team,” he added.

The second match of Group D would be between Croatia and Nigeria. Both teams hope to progress to the round of 16.

The Croats will face an arguably tough contender but they seem confident to overcome the Nigerians.

Nikola Kalinic, Croatia’s forward, said “We certainly have very high quality offensive players and we should not be afraid. It is important that we play well and create opportunities for our attackers.” Croatia includes key players like Real Madrid Luka Modric, Barcelona’s midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, as well as Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic.

Nigeria should not be under-estimated and appeared up to the challenge of their tough group.

“I love this group because we know how to rise to the occasion together. Nigeria will be ready for Croatia,” Nigeria’s Coach Gernot Rohr.

Nigeria have former Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi as captain, with Premier League pair Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi also in their squad.

This will be the first encounter between Croatia and Nigeria.

Source: Kuwait News Agency