The countdown to the 2018 World Cup continues, and Group D sees Argentina taking on Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland in one of the more interesting of the eight groups.
Argentina are number 4 in the FIFA World Rankings, with Croatia at number 15, Iceland number 20, and Nigeria number 51. However, when it comes to trying to pick the winner of Group D, the big question is whether Argentina really have that much of an advantage over their opponents compared to their odds to win the group.
2018 World Cup Group D Betting
Argentina 3/4, Croatia 3/1, Nigeria 12/1, Iceland 16/1
The big question is which Argentina will turn up for the World Cup Finals, as the dual World Cup Winners have an excellent record in the Group Stages of the World Cup in recent years. They did fall at the group stage in 2002, but made the quarter-finals in 1998, 2006 and 2010, and finished second in Rio in 2014. They topped their group in 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2014, winning all three games in 1998, 2006 and 2014, whilst 7 points and a superior goal difference in 2010 was also enough to see them top their group. There are some doubts about them though, as recent coaching changes and the attitude of some players are in question – but Lionel Messi is a proven match winner.
Found their form late in the day in qualifying, but they have enough quality players to make life difficult for any team. They also boast a semi-final appearance at the 1998 World Cup, and they may well arrive at the 2018 World Cup Finals their best squad since. However, they didn’t even top their group in 1998, when they finished second to Argentina, and have finished third in their group at their last three world cups.
Nigeria have never made it past the round of last-16 in their five previous World Cup Finals, but it’s interesting they topped their group at both the 1994 and 1998 World Cup, when 6 points was enough to top their groups. In 1994, Argentina were also in their group. However, Argentina put Nigeria in their place in 2014, when Nigeria scraped through behind them with 4 points. Nigeria have arguably improved since though, and have the sort of attacking options who could cause problems.
What Iceland lack in stars they try and make up for with a great team spirit and work ethic, whilst their long throw-ins assist plenty of goals. Their fans love to try and inspire their team too with their famous Thunderclap, but this will be their first taste of the biggest football tournament on the planet.
Coaching changes and their reliance on talisman Lionel Messi give Argentina a look of vulnerability, but it’s hard to argue with the fact they’ve topped their group at 4 of the last 5 World Cups. Croatia have yet to top their group in 4 attempts, whilst Iceland are making their debut. Therefore, if you want to take Argentina on, the value is probably to do it with Nigeria at 12/1 – who have topped two World Cup Groups, including one that contained Argentina.