Argentina vs Iceland World Cup 2018
Iceland and Argentina share one thing in common at this year’s World Cup – they are both teams that neutrals will be cheering on.
Iceland’s story is one that is now well known – a country of just 330,000 people qualifying for their first World Cup after making it to the quarter-finals in their first ever European Championships campaign. The tiny nation is comfortably the smallest at the tournament, and their ability to punch above their weight is inspiring.
On the other side of the field you have Argentina, packed with talent and a host of big names that will most likely be finishing their careers before the next event in Qatar. While Messi is good enough (and arguably young enough) to make it to 2022, there is a sense that this is his final opportunity to be crowned as a World Cup winner, which would perhaps secure his place as the greatest in the sport.
Iceland were the better performers in qualification, although comparing UEFA to CONMEBOL is a case of apples and oranges. They did manage to finish ahead of fellow qualifiers Croatia, which was a fantastic effort, and also Turkey largely due to their 3-0 triumph in Istanbul. Both nations are former World Cup semi-finalists, so their achievement shouldn’t be underestimated.
Argentina scraped home in their qualification campaign, largely thanks to a Messi hat-trick in their final match. The great man will once again lead the way for the South Americans in this matchup.
So is there a chance Iceland can replicate their efforts in the European Championships and cause another giant upset? It’s doubtful. After watching Iceland in their friendly match against Mexico, we can see that they will have opportunities, but will ultimately fall short against a team with more strikepower.
Argentina enter the match as -354 favourites, which is really the only option here. Although the South Americans have often found it difficult to score more than one goal in previous World Cup matches, we believe this is the tournament in which they will break the shackles and play free-flowing football.
The draw is priced at +415 and Iceland are +1100 to gain the upset. Go for Argentina here.
Argentina vs Iceland Preview
Argentina are going to score a lot of goals at this World Cup. We can feel it. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that Sergio Romero, Ángel di María, Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín et al are approaching retirement, or perhaps it’s due to the appointment of Jorge Sampaoli as manager, but tactical styles go in and out of vogue as frequently as hairstyles, and Argentina will surely recognise that their defensive setup barely got them through to this point.
For this reason, we are liking the overs markets at this World Cup when Argentina are involved, and they should be setting their sights on a big win against an Iceland team that are well drilled but lacking depth and star power.
Also, you can’t pass up the opportunity to place a bet on Lionel Messi in this match. Whether you go with first goal scorer or any time goal scorer, there’s a huge chance the G.O.A.T. will hit the back of the net.
Iceland are a great team to support because they are relentless in their pursuit of the ball. While they lack the polish of some of the top teams, their match against England in 2016 showed us all what may happen if Argentina score early and take their foot off the gas pedal. The second half of Argentina’s qualification campaign proved that the South Americans can struggle in games they should be winning.
Although it may be a consolation goal in the end, we believe Iceland will score assuming Argentina set up in an offensive manner. Iceland scored in all five games they played in the 2016 Euros, which included clashes with finalists Portugal and France, so don’t discount their ability in the front third.
Head to Head Alternatives
Argentina should win this match, and the odds are indicative of a game that should be fairly one-sided. As a result, you won’t make too much profit from a head to head wager. Should you wish to stick to a basic bet, your best option is to parlay this match with another ‘sure thing’ (France vs Australia kicks off just prior to this match, which should also be a straight forward result).
Alternatively there are a number of lines that provide much better value. Although we’ve indicated that Argentina scored few goals during qualification, we’re confident that Argentina will turn it up a notch in this game and score at least two goals. We also noted Iceland’s ability to score goals, so the over/under market (set at +/- 2.5 goals) is a nice option.
For a straight over/under wager, you will get +107 if you bet there will be at least three goals in the match (as opposed to -135 for two or less goals). If you’re are also convinced that Argentina will win, why not double down and select Argentina and over +2.5 in the Matchbet and Totals market. This is paying a very healthy +112.
Finally, the Both Teams to Score market is offering +170 for ‘yes’, this is another great pick.
Group D Betting Odds