By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 19th June 2018
Argentina vs Iceland kicks off at 2pm today – where Iceland will become the smallest nation to have ever competed in a World Cup.
With 334,000 inhabitants when they qualified, Iceland will be hoping to shock the world again after humiliating England on their way to the quarters-finals of Euro 2012.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli did an unusual thing in his press conference by announcing his opening side a full day early. In it he elected to play Sergio Aguero over Gonzalo Higuain.
Argentina starting XI: Willy Caballero, Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Maximiliano Meza, Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero.
Higuain has usually been preferred in previous tournaments but Sergio Aguero has just come back off one of his finest seasons in club football and will be looking to finally make his mark on the international stage.
Iceland meanwhile saw the return of Gylfi Sigurdsson last week and will be hope he can be the difference again as he was in France two years ago, where he finished top scorer with 4 goals. The gifted midfielder is tipped at 3/1 to repeat these heroics, and has featured in 10 of Iceland’s qualifying games for Russia 2018.
After Ronaldo’s man of the match performance hat-trick against Spain yesterday, the pressure has been ramped on Lionel Messi. Can Messi follow suit and guide his Albiceleste side to a win over Iceland? He is 4/1 to score 2 or more goals against Iceland.
Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrimsson: “regarding Messi, I don’t have a magic formula. Everybody has tried everything against him and he always manages to score.”
Argentina were far from smooth in qualifying and last-minute cancellation of a friendly against Israel recently may have disrupted planning ahead of the tournament. Can Iceland take advantage of that? Gylfi Sigurdsson To Score And Iceland To Win is 25/1
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about many different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Sport Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.