World Cup

Nigeria v Iceland preview

After holding Argentina to a surprise draw, Iceland are hoping to make it four points in World Cup Group D against Nigeria at the Volgograd Arena on Friday (3pm).

Iceland are buoyant after their shock result against Argentina where Lionel Messi saw a potentially match-winning penalty saved by Hannes Halldorsson.

Nigeria, meanwhile, lost their opening match 2-0 to Croatia and Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson expects the Super Eagles to come out firing.

“This is a must-win game for Nigeria and that makes it a little bit psychologically different, they have to win,” he said.

“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 injury time.”

“This is how this group is going to be played.”

If Nigeria lose, they would become the third African side after Morocco and Egypt to be dumped out after just two group matches.

Head coach Gernot Rohr hit back at a reporter when asked if a loss might see his job on the line.

“We will not lose this game so I do not answer this question.”

“You can ask this question again after the game, but I will tell you we will not lose,” he said.

Team news

Hallgrimsson has revealed that winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson isn’t expected to recover in time to play.

Gudmundsson tore his calf muscle in Iceland’s 1-1 draw against Argentina.

Leicester’s Ahmed Musa could start for Nigeria after coming off the bench in their opening game.

Opta stats

There has only been one previous meeting between Nigeria and Iceland, with the European side winning 3-0 in a friendly in August 1981.

All five of Nigeria’s wins at the World Cup have been against European sides.

Iceland drew their first ever World Cup game when they met Argentina.

The last side to avoid defeat in both of their first two World Cup games were Senegal in 2002, while Croatia in 1998 were the last European side to do so.

After recording eight shots against Argentina in the first half of their first match, Iceland failed to register a single attempt on goal in the second 45 minutes.

Nigeria have lost each of their last three World Cup games.

They last had a longer run of defeats in the competition between 1998 and 2002 (four games).

 

 

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