After a fantastic Euro 2016 run for their first ever international tournament appearance, Iceland will appear in their first ever World Cup. Their quarter-final loss to France in their previous tournament was nothing to be ashamed of, but now they look for more.
Villa’s Birkir Bjarnason was a big part in the Vikings run last tournament, as well as qualifying, starting nine games and bagging one goal on their path to qualifying. He will surely be needed to help run the pace of the game against one of the favorites to win the tournament.
The thing about games like these is thatIceland has nothing to lose. Argentina on the other hand... I expect Iceland to come out just like they did all of the Euro’s, coming out with that fire-y passion and grit that shut down the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal back in those group stages, and we all know how Portugal ended up winning that tournament in 2016, so that is certainly an impressive point. Bjarnason started all five games for them as well in the Euro, and we know his work-rate is definitely something that can help this team pull off a huge upset.
It’s going to take a lot more than just grit and graft to take on the likes of Lionel Messi and Argentina, as we see so often. In the World Cup, teams know how to get results. When Argentina lined up against their group stage opponents in 2014 in Brazil, they won all three games by one goal. Those games were versus Bosnia, Iran, and Nigeria. In those games we saw the weaker teams sort of pack up shop and hope for the best, but then the best (Messi) took over and shined when the great’s shine. I expect a similar situation, but the Vikings hope they can fight their way through, and even a draw might be a win in what I think is the real Group of Death.
The Argentine team come into this game and tournament at +900, which is a lot, but then you look at Iceland and they are marked at +25000, so that just goes to show the expected gap between these two teams.
Iceland, with nothing to lose other than these three points that they’re not expected to take, looks to shock the world again and go on another deep run to show just what the country of 330k is made of. The only question now is will the likes of Messi, Aguero, Di Maria, (I could go on and on all day), allow that to happen? Tune in at 2PM GMT to see!