World Cup Group D Preview

A group in which all sides have a chance of going through.

Argentina

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History

Argentina have participated in 16 World Cups, their first came in 1930 and they managed to win the competition in 1978, and 1986. In 2014 they lost the final to Germany. 

Team Preview

Goalkeepers – Nahuel Guzman (UANL), Franco Armani (River Plate), Willy Caballero (Chelsea)
Defenders – Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino), Federico Fazio (AS Roma), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica)
Midfielders – Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Enzo Perez (River Plate), Giovani Lo Celso (PSG), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors) 
Forwards – Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Manager – Jorge Sampaoli 
Most Caps – Javier Mascherano (143)
Captain – Lionel Messi 
Star Player – Lionel Messi 

Analysis

After losing to Germany in the previous World Cup it all went downhill for the Argentinian national team. Messi retired, and the qualification was not going as planned, but things turned around and Messi returned to rescue his nation and accomplished his task by scoring a hattrick in the final qualifier. Argentina have only managed to play one friendly before the World Cup which they won. They have a great squad and their forwards are the jewels in the team. Argentina in all likelihood will make it past the group stage and the quarter finals should be their minimum expectation. 

Iceland

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History

Iceland make their first appearance in a World Cup, they do this after having impressed at Euro 2016 and gaining praise universally. 

Team Preview

Goalkeepers – Hannes Pór Halldórsson (Randers), Frederik Schram (Roskilde), Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson (Nordsjælland)
Defenders – Birkir Már Sævarsson (Valur), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (Rostov), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Rostov), Kári Arnason (Aberdeen), Hólmar Orn Eyjólfsson (Levski Sofia), Hördur Björgvin Magnússon (Bristol City), Ari Freyr Skúlason (Lokeren)
Midfielders – Samúel Fridjónsson (Valerenga), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Ingi Skulason (Kardemir Karabulkspor), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City), Rurik Gislason (SV Sandhausen), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Amor Ingvi Traustason (Malmo)
Forwards – Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdsson (Rostov), Alfred Finnbogason (FC Augsburg), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading)
Manager – Heimir Hallgrimsson 
Most Caps – Birkir Mar Sævarsson (79)
Captain – Aron Gunnarsson 
Star Player – Gylfi Sigurdsson 

Analysis

Iceland make their first appearance in a World Cup and having exceeded expectations in Euro 2016 they are in group which can help them replicate those performances. Iceland played two friendlies losing one and drawing the other. Reaching the World Cup is already a great achievement for the nation, and with the exception of Argentina they can easily challenge for the second place spot. Expectations are that Iceland will fall short of second place but could finish a respectable third in tough group. 

Croatia

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History

Croatia have played in four World Cups till now their first coming in 1998 in which they also finished third in the competition. 

Team Preview

Goalkeepers – Dominik Livaković (Dinamo Zagreb), Lovre Kalinić (Gent), Danijel Subašić (Monaco)
Defenders – Šime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Ivan Strinić (Sampdoria), Vedran Ćorluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Josip Pivarić (Dynamo Kyiv)
Midfielders – Ivan Rakitić (Barcelona), Mateo Kovačić (Real Madrid), Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), Marcelo Brozović (Inter Milan), Filip Bradarić (Rijeka), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina)
Forwards – Ivan Perišić (Inter Milan), Andrej Kramarić (1899 Hoffenheim), Nikola Kalinić (AC Milan), Mario Mandžukić (Juventus), Ante Rebić (Eintracht Frankfurt), Marko Pjaca (Schalke 04)
Manager – Zlatko Dalic
Most Caps – Luka Modrić (106)
Captain – Luka Modrić
Star Player – Luka Modrić 

Analysis 

Croatia are favourites to qualify from the group along with Argentina, they always ply beautiful football and are at times unlucky to not make it further in competitions. Croatia played two friendlies to prepare for the summer, losing one and winning the other. With some brilliant players in the squad and Modrić pulling the strings Croatia should make it past the group stage and could make it up to the quarter finals. A favourable draw could only see them go farther. 

Nigeria

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History

Nigeria have participated in five World Cups, having reached the round of 16 in 94, 98, and 2014. Their first World Cup came in 1994. 

Team Preview

Goalkeepers – Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United), Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna)
Defenders – Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm), Elderson Echiéjilé (Cercle Brugge), William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05), Shehu Abdullahi (Bursaspor), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes), Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa)
Midfielders – Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Oghenekara Etebo (Las Palmas), John Obi Mikel (Tianjin TEDA), Joel Obi (Torino), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva)
Forwards – Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal)
Manager – Gernot Rohr
Most Caps – John Obi Mikel (85)
Captain – John Obi Mikel
Star Player – John Obi Mikel 

Analysis

Whether they do well in the World Cup depends on the Nigerian team but they have already won best kit of the competition. Nigeria have some star players in the squad especially in their midfield and forward lines. John Obi Mikel provides the experience and strength at the centre of all movements forward with players like Moses, Iwobi, and Musa providing the attacking threat. Nigeria could make it to the round of 16 but anything more would be a bonus and their best performance in a World Cup. 

 

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