In what seemed one of the hardest World Cup groups to advance out of, things initially looked like they would go Argentina’s way. An early goal in game one against the Iceland team set the scene. Iceland? they fought back, got an equalizer, and stopped Messi from scoring, even from the penalty spot. A 1-1 'win' for Iceland saw them stuck alongside Argentina at one point each. Villa's Birkir Bjarnason got stuck in for a lot of the game with some smart tactical fouls, and managed to avoid the referees book.
Now, entering their second match, they play Nigeria, who laid an egg against Croatia (but now that we have seen Croatia beat Argentina 3-0, it’s hard to judge this Nigerian team on that). At this point, both Croatia and Argentina have played two games, and Croatia is automatically through to the round of 16, but Argentina is still in it with 1 point. Nigeria lie at 0 and of course, Iceland is also still at 1 point. There are so many scenarios that can happen going into the last day, and it will come down to Argentina-Nigeria and Croatia-Iceland results regardless. I’ll break down the potential scenarios a little bit:
Iceland would be on 2 points, Nigeria and Argentina on 1, and Croatia already clinched first place at 6 points. Going into the last day, Argentina would have to win and hope that Croatia would beat or draw Iceland, or else Iceland and Croatia are through OR Argentina draw and Iceland losing but not losing the goal differential (can’t tell what that’s gonna be before this game) would see Iceland through.
Iceland WIN vs Nigeria
Iceland on 4 points, Argentina at 1, and Nigeria at 0. All That would have to happen would be Iceland not losing by the GD, that Argentina would have a chance to try and swing. Worst case scenario would be Argentina smashing Nigeria and Croatia smashing this Iceland team. If Iceland are at 4 points, Croatia will have 1st place to play for, so this is a tough scenario, even if they win today.
Iceland LOSS vs Nigeria
Honestly, a loss today just makes this scenario a lot more clear. If they lose today, Argentina and them are both at 1 point, and Nigeria swings it to their favor at second-place and 3 points. But, they still play Argentina their last day, who have something to prove still. Iceland would need a win vs Croatia AND hope that Argentina beats Nigeria, but not by swinging the GD to their favor.
It’s a very confusing situation all-in-all, and it’ll be a LOT clearer after this ensuing battle between Iceland and Nigeria, kicking off in about an hour at 3PM/GMT, 4PM/BST, 11AM/EST! Let’s see if Bjarnason and Iceland can use the momentum and big tournament performance to push them into a good spot to advance to the next round at this 2018 FIFA World Cup!