Iceland VS Croatia, Kick-Off Time: 11:30 P.M. (IST)
Iceland faces Croatia on Tuesday at the Rostov-on-Don Arena as the Group D of the FIFA World Cup 2018 reaches a dramatic conclusion.
Croatia has already qualified for the knockout phase following a 3-0 win over Argentina and is set to remain group winners even if they lose to Iceland as they sport a +5 goal difference. They made the perfect start to their campaign with victory over Nigeria and a rather impressive win over Argentina. With their place in the knockout stage now secure, they have the incentive of trying to replicate the nation’s magical run at France 1998. Before they set about that task, they can have a say on who joins them in the next round. Should they beat or draw with the Icelanders, they will send them home.
— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) June 25, 2018
Iceland faces an uphill battle as their only chance of progressing to the next phase would be to beat Croatia and maintain a better goal difference than Argentina who faces Nigeria in the other Group D fixture. They started their World Cup campaign well by holding Argentina to a 1-1 draw but lost 2-0 to Nigeria. Three of the Icelandic players will feel right at home as Sverrir Ingason, Ragnar Sigurdsson and Bjorn Sigurdarson all play for Rostov.
Even a win may not be enough for Iceland, as they will need to keep an eye on Argentina’s meeting with Nigeria in Saint Petersburg. If Nigeria win, Iceland will be eliminated. If Argentina draw or win, it will all come down to whoever has the better goal difference.
Iceland: Iceland defender Ragnar Sigurdsson is a doubt after being forced off against Nigeria with a head injury while Johann Berg Gudmundsson might return from his injury.
Croatia: Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rabic, Sime Vrsaljko, Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic and Vedran Corluka are all one booking away from a ban. Hence Zlatko Dalic will have to think twice before letting them play.
Iceland: Hannes Halldorsson – Birkir Saevarsson, Kari Arnason, Ragnar Sigurdson, Hordur Magnusson – Aron Gunnarsson, Emil Hallfredsson, Johann Gudmundsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Birkir Bjarnason – Alfred Finnbogason
Croatia: Lovre Kalinic – Tin Jedvaj, Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida, Josip Pivaric – Milan Badelj, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric –Marko Pjaca, Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic
Iceland: Gylfi Sigurdsson played a crucial role in the crucial draw against Argentina. The 28-year old is one of the most well-known and influential figures in the Icelandic side.
Croatia: Luka Modric has been the key in both of Croatia’s two victories in the World Cup. The 32-year old midfielder will be instrumental to Croatia’s campaign further in the knockout stages.
Form – Last 5
Iceland: L | D | D | L | L
Croatia: W | W | W| L | W
Betting Odds – Sky Bet
Iceland 1 – 1 Croatia: Even though Croatia have already qualified for the last 16, they would still want to head into the knockout stage with momentum. The match is bound to be tight, likely ending in a draw.
Where to watch?
TV Channels (India) – Sony Six – 11:30 P.M IST
In addition, you can live stream all the Matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup from 14th June to 15th July only on the Official SonyLIV App and the SonyLIV Website.