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.