Win or burst for Iceland against familiar foe Croatia
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Croatia continued to impress at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
After easing past Nigeria 2-0 in the opener, the 1998 third-place winners smashed South American heavyweights Argentina 3-0 to book a place von the knockout phase.
Iceland and Croatia battled each other during the qualifying campaign which saw the Scandinavian outfit surprisingly finish top of the standings ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Teams picked up a clean sheet win apiece in front of the home crowd during the run. Interestingly, the two sides were rivals in the WC qualification campaigns back in 2006 and 2014 as well.
Overall, Croatia had much more success winning four, drawing one and losing one of six meetings with Iceland. Only one of these six affairs saw goals at both ends.
The Croatian manager Zlatko Dalic announced that he will give rest to his main stars in order to have them fresh for the knockout stage, regardless of the opposition there.
As the Blazers have already have already secured the last 16 round, we will thus likely see the likes of Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic all rested here.
Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean Iceland will win the match as Croatia certainly possess quality on the bench as well. Andrej Kramaric will lead the line, while nobody an underestimate the midfield with Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic.
Croatia head into this off the back of three consecutive wins which have seen them bag 7 goals in the process. Knowing they are up against Iceland who shipped two or goals in five of last six games, we have to find the value in backing the Blazers to score two or more goals at the odds of 2.37. Croatia’s victory is also worth backing at 2.25.
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