Iceland step into the heat for Nigeria showdown

Iceland, unexpected darlings of Euro 2016, appear ready to play the same role at their first World Cup.

Representing the smallest nation ever to appear in a World Cup, Iceland drew 1-1 with Lionel Messi’s Argentina on Saturday in Moscow.

Now, Iceland shift their focus to Nigeria, who did little right in a listless 2-0 loss to Croatia on Saturday at Kaliningrad. Based on both side’s previous performances, Strákarnir okkar might be poised to take the next step – their first World Cup victory.

Nigeria, meanwhile, must improve their futile attack and young defence that was exploited on set-pieces. The only other meeting between these teams came in 1981, a friendly that went 3-0 to Iceland.

After making history by just showing up to their first World Cup match, Iceland appear ready to continue their progress.

Their relentless defence and physicality might be too much for the Nigerians to handle when it’s done. Iceland were content in sitting back for most of the second half to earn the point against Argentina, but sticking to the plan is why they’ve become a credible opponent.

Nigeria have talent, but there’s plenty to improve upon from the opener and the challenge to earn a point won’t be easy, especially if the focus wanes and the composure lacks.

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