Iceland v Croatia preview

Iceland v Croatia

Croatia have emerged as one of the dark horses at the World Cup and they can make it three wins out of three Group D matches by beating an Iceland side that appears to have run out of gas.

Croatia had come into the tournament in disarray, dispensing with Ante Cacic’s services and replacing him with Zlatko Dalic just before their play-off triumph against Greece.

Croatia 9.50 to beat Iceland 2-0

Fans had turned against several players, including Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren, who had become embroiled in a scandal involving the controversial Zdravko Mamic.

But since arriving in Russia, the Croatian side has been transformed with a routine 2-0 victory against Nigeria being followed by a stunning 3-0 win against an admittedly dreadful Argentina team.

The defence looks solid, the midfield is purring and Mario Mandzukic will surely get on the goal trail soon, after missing a hatful of chances against Nigeria and Argentina.

Mandzukic 7.00 to be Croatia’s top goalscorer at the World Cup

After performing so well at Euro 2016, and in their first game in Russia against Argentina, Iceland produced a desperately disappointing performance against Nigeria, particularly in the second half when they wilted in the Volgograd heat.

The Super Eagles made Iceland look what they are – a rugged, hard-working outfit with great team spirit, but one which lacks quality in all areas of the pitch.

Croatia 15.00 to win the World Cup

Iceland can still reach the round of 16, they are 6.50 to do so, but it is difficult to see how they can upset a Croatia side that oozes quality.

Croatia have struggled at World Cups since they reached the semi-finals in 1998, where they thrashed Germany 3-0 in the last eight and took the lead against hosts France, before losing 2-1 in the semi-finals.

However, the current squad could repeat that performance and with a possible round of 16 match against Denmark eminently winnable, confidence will be high.