Group D Profiles - World Cup 2018

We preview the teams playing in Group D for this year's soccer world cup 2018, which includes Argentina, Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland. Key players to watch in this group include Lionel Messi, Victor Moses, Luka Modric, and Heimir Hallgrimsson. Get betting and predictions here.


Argentina

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi

To Win Group 61/100
To Win Tournament 9/1
FIFA Ranking 5th

How they qualified
Finished third in the South American standings, with a Lionel Messi hat-trick against Ecuador on the final matchday lifting Argentina from the brink of a shock failure.

Pedigree
Two-time winners in 1978 and 1986, having featured at 16 World Cups. Three-time runners-up, having lost the final in 1930, 1990 and most recently to Germany in 2014.

Coach
Jorge Sampaoli – The team’s third coach of the qualifying campaign – following on from Gerardo Martino and Edgardo Bauza – took charge for the final four games. His intense, high-press attacking game was a great success with Chile, and briefly Sevilla, but does he have the players to make it work with Argentina?

Key player
Lionel Messi – The Barcelona star, who single-handedly fired La Albiceleste to Russia 2018, will be making his fourth appearance at the World Cup and he is desperate to bow out on a high by winning the trophy, having lost in the final of the last edition to Germany.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea), Franco Armani (River Plate)
Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Federico Fazio (Roma), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP).
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Lucas Biglia (Milan), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors),
Forwards: Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus).

Group prediction
1st


Iceland

Gylfi Sigurdsson of Iceland

To Win Group 12/1
To Qualify From Group 11/4
FIFA Ranking 22nd

How they qualified
Group I winners in European qualifying, picking up 22 points from 10 games to finish two points clear of runners-up Croatia.

Pedigree
2018 will be their first World Cup appearance, having failed to qualify for the finals on 12 occasions.

Coach
Heimir Hallgrimsson – A qualified dentist who still runs a clinic in his native Westmann Islands, he was appointed assistant to Lars Lagerback, when the Icelandic Football Federation hired the Swede as national coach in 2011. Shortly after failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, Hallgrimsson and Lagerback signed contracts as joint managers, and when the Swede called it a day after Euro 2016, Hallgrimsson became the sole boss.

Key player
Gylfi Sigurdsson – The Everton midfielder has been named the Icelandic Footballer of the Year for the past six years.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Hannes Halldorsson (Randers), Runar Runarsson (Nordsjaelland), Frederik Schram (Roskilde)
Defenders: Kari Arnason (Aberdeen), Holmar Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia), Rurik Gislason (Sandhausen), Sverrir Ingason (Rostov), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City), Birkir Saevarsson (Valur), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Rostov), Ari Skulason (Lokeren)
Midfielders: Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga), Johann Gudmundsson (Burnley), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Skulason (Karabukspor), Arnor Traustason (Malmo)
Forwards: Jon Bodvarsson (Reading), Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV), Bjorn Sigurdarson (Rostov)

Group prediction
4th

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Nigeria

Nigeria national team

To Win Group 10/1
To Win Tournament 200/1
FIFA Ranking 47th

How they qualified
Group B winners in African qualifying, five points clear of Zambia and six ahead of Cameroon.

Pedigree
Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, Nigeria have only missed the 2006 edition in Germany. Of their five appearances, their best achievement has been reaching the last 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014.

Coach
Gernot Rohr – The 64-year-old German tactician led the national teams of Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso before his surprise appointment by Nigeria in 2016.

Key player
Victor Moses – The Chelsea wing-back was voted Nigeria's Player of the Year back in February.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC), Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United)
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor), Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag), Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge), Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes), William Ekong (Bursaspor), Leon Balogun (Mainz), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas), John Ogu (Hapoel Be'er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Nwankwo Simeon (Crotone)

Group prediction
3rd


Croatia

Croatia national team

To Win Group 9/4
To Win Tournament 33/1
FIFA Ranking 18th

How they qualified
Beat Greece 4-1 on aggregate in the European play-offs after finishing runners-up to Iceland in Group I.

Pedigree
Four appearances, having first qualified in 1998 where they reached the semi-finals. After defeat to eventual winners France, a 2-1 win over the Netherlands saw Croatia secure a third-place finish.

Coach
Zlatko Dalic – Took charge of a critical situation with one game remaining in the qualifying. Presided over a victory over Ukraine 2-0, then Croatia overcame Greece in the playoffs.

Key player
Luka Modric – The Real Madrid midfielder has been named Croatia's Footballer of the Year six times.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb).
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg).
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka).
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Group prediction
2nd

GROUP PROFILES

Group A Team Profiles
(Egypt, Uruguay, Russia, Saudia Arabia)

Group B Team Profiles
(Spain, Portugal, Iran, Morocco)

Group C Team Profiles
(France, Peru, Denmark, Australia)

Group D Team Profiles
(Argentina, Nigeria, Croatia, Iceland)

Group E Team Profiles
(Brazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia)

Group F Team Profiles
(Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea) 

Group G Team Profiles
(England, Belgium, Tunisia, Panama)

Group H Team Profiles
(Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Japan)

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