Group D Preview
Every World Cup has a group of death, and for me, Group D is this tournament’s group of death. I say this because I can see three teams making it out of the group, and this group of three should be more closely contested than the others. Argentina could score enough goals that the other teams just couldn’t get keep with them. Croatia has the best midfield in this group (and perhaps in the world) and could hold possession to make it tough on the opposition to score. Iceland will be looking to build off their 2016 Euro run where they shocked the world by not only making it to the knock-out stage, but by also beating England in the round of 16. And the last team in this group is Nigeria. And honestly, they will probably be over matched in all three of their games.
Matches and date (East coast time):
Argentina vs Iceland, June 16 at 9 a.m.
Croatia vs Nigeria, June 16th at 3 p.m.
Argentina vs Croatia, June 21st at 2 p.m.
Nigeria vs Iceland, June 22nd at 11 a.m.
Nigeria vs Argentina, June 26th at 2 p.m.
Iceland vs Croatia, June 26th at 2 p.m.
Croatia: 7 points
Iceland: 5 points
Argentina: 4 points
Nigeria: 1 point
Key matchup: Argentina vs Iceland
The darlings of the 2016 Euros qualified for their first ever World Cup, and what a better way to start of their World Cup journey than against the team that lost in the 2014 World Cup final. Iceland’s defense will be tested early and often, but they’re experienced and should be up for the challenge. And I think this will be the biggest upset of the knockout portion of the tournament.
Hot take: Croatia is the best team in this group. On paper, Argentina should blow out all three teams in this group, with an attack of Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, and some dude named Lionel Messi. But for whatever reason, they needed Messi to single-handedly put the team on his back and will them to qualifying. Their defense is suspect at times, and between that and the other world-class attackers not performing well with the national team, they’ll be left on the outside looking in.
But like I said at the beginning of this overview, I believe Croatia is the best team in this group. They have some solid goal scoring options and should be able to keep possession and win the ball in their midfield, which is the best in the world. Yes, they also had some problems with qualifying, but it’s much harder to qualify out of Europe than it is South America (just ask Italy how qualifying went).
The 2016 Euro darlings will shock the world once again and advance to the knockout stage. They remind me a lot the past USA teams. They don’t have the star power that other nations do, but they seem to play so well together that it almost doesn’t matter. They’re a veteran team who will come out with a bang against Argentina and then hold on and reach the round of 16.
And can I just say how much of a shame it is that Nigeria is in this group. They have the best jersey in the World Cup hands down, and we’ll probably see them wear it in only two games this tournament.
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