Odds to win
By: Jason Green
Group D is a tough group and no surprise 2014 World Cup runner-up Argentina has the best betting odds. Here are the odds to win Group D.
Argentina was not great in South American World Cup qualifying, but they have a loaded squad and have Lionel Messi on the attack, so they are always dangerous. They have many world-class players such as Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and with Messi other teams will focus on stopping the Barcelona superstar. Messi may be playing in his last World Cup and anything less than hoisting the trophy will probably seen as a disappointment. They have a few issues in the back-line defense, which showed in them getting crushed by Spain 6-1 in a friendly. Still, with Messi and company in the attack and a great midfield Argentina has the squad, on paper, to go all the way.
Croatia is a solid team and they were good in World Cup qualifying, but their issues are off the field. There are player and administration corruption allegations and that has hindered the team’s progression. The Croats have a good all-around team and their midfield is great with Real Madrid’s LUka Modric. Ivan Rakitic is also a world-class player in the midfield, but the attack has had issues in recent friendlies. This is especially the case facing the South American teams where they lost a couple of 2-0 matches to Peru and Brazil, who are playing in Russia this summer. Croatia needs to get off to a good start in group play where their first match is facing Nigeria.
Nigeria went undefeated in World Cup African qualifying, which was an accomplishment being in the Group of Death. They have a balanced squad led by veterans John Obi Mikel Mikel Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses and a couple of young guns in Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho. Iwobi is the leader in the midfield and the best playmaker the squad has and he has to play well this summer, especially setting up the attack. The attack of the Nigeria squad has been a big question mark leading up to the World Cup, as in their last Four friendlies before the Tournament they had three losses and one draw and only totaled two goals.
Can Iceland relive their magical run like they had in the last European Championships? They are in the World Cup for the first time and the least populous nation ever to make the main draw. They are a very tactical team that gives other squads fits and their defense is a good one. Everton’s Gylfi Sigurðsson is their best playmaker and attacker and the counter-attack is also a key for the team that drops back to pack the defensive end of the pitch. Iceland went winless in their last Four friendlies before the World Cup losing to Norway and playing to a draw against Ghana, who are two teams not competing this summer.