By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 22nd June 2018
Friday 22nd June
Stadium: Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
Kick-off: 4:00pm BST
Live on BBC1
Nigeria vs Iceland odds
Iceland come into this fixture as slight favourites at 8/5 while a Nigeria win is trading at 15/8. Nigeria will have to avoid defeat but preferably win against Iceland to prevent an early elimination, with a draw currently standing at 2/1.
The other teams in Group D, met last night, with Croatia beating Argentina 3-0, leaving the race for the second qualification spot wide-open.
Nigeria vs Iceland stats
The Super Eagles were comfortably beaten by the Croats in their opening match. Iceland heroically held on to a draw against Argentina. Part-time film director and Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson was the hero when he saved Lionel Messi’s spot-kick to keep the game tied.
Nigeria vs Iceland key players to watch
Nigeria, who boast the youngest squad in the tournament, have a very specific weakness on set-pieces that Iceland could look to exploit. Of the 27 goals Nigeria have conceded since their World Cup debut in 1994, 15 of them have been from set-pieces – the worst percentage (52%) amongst any nation in that period.
Iceland are a notoriously set-piece orientated side, placing strong emphasis on marking and organisation at corners and free-kicks. Bristol City centre back Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson is 12/1 to score anytime, and may stand a chance of latching on to a Gylfi Sigurdsson set piece.
Nigeria will take solace in the fact that all five of their victories at the World Cup have come against European sides. Iceland are World Cup debutants – and the last side to avoid defeat in the first two matches of their debut World Cup was Senegal back in 2002.
If you fancy Nigeria’s front line to have too much for Iceland, then Super Eagles striker Odion Igahlo to score and Nigeria to win was 7/2 but now stands at 4/1.
Iceland failed to record a shot on target for the entirety of the second half against Argentina. They may well be reliant on a moment of brilliance from playmaker Sigurdsson, who is now 5/1 to score in an Iceland win.
“This is a must-win game for Nigeria, and that makes it a little bit psychologically different, they have to win,” Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson told reporters.
“This group is going to be decided in the last minutes, in the last game. It’s going to be down to some margins, a set piece, a goal in extra time. This is how this group is going to be played.”
Chelsea full-back and Nigeria winger Victor Moses said: ‘’For me, the game with Iceland is going to be more difficult than the game against Argentina.’’
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 different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied 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.