Talking Points: Can Iceland still make it out of the group?
Written by: Neelav Chakravarti
The African nation led by former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel came back from a bad start to trounce a solid looking Iceland.
Nigeria have reached a step closer to the Round of 16, with two Ahmed Musa goals in the 49th and 75th minute. Although Iceland put in a dominant first half display, the CAF nation slowly took control from the second half onwards.
In this article, we are going to talk about five talking points from this FIFA World Cup Group D fixture.
5. Iceland were a different team in the second half
Iceland don’t have anything to prove to the world. Against Argentina, the Nordic nation proved that Euro 2016 wasn’t by luck.
In the first half against the African nation, they put in one of their most balanced performances with solid defending and attacking. They produced more shots than Nigeria and were defending solidly. But, in the second half, they were a complete contrast – maybe because of their skipper’s injury or Musa’s first goal. It was all summed up by Gylfi Sigurdsson's late penalty miss.
4. Ahmed Musa deserves a second chance in the English Premier League
Post-Brazil 2014 – where he scored two good goals in a group stage loss to Argentina – Musa came under the radar of top European clubs. Then English Premier League champions Leicester City bought him for a then club record transfer fee. But since, the promising Nigerian has gone on a downward spiral and joined CSKA Moscow in this year’s winter transfer window.
However, his two goals against Iceland have shown that he can play under immense pressure (that also in a crucial World Cup fixture). He displayed that he has the necessary talent to make it as a goalscorer in England. He is fast. He is physically well-built. He has a good first touch and possesses a low center of gravity required to beat defenders.
3. Nigeria need to repeat their second half performance against Argentina
To go past a distraught Argentine side, Nigeria need to repeat their second half performance from this game. It was a complete display of solidity and confidence.
John Obi Mikel stepped up his game along with the likes of Musa to the delight of Bayern Munich legend Oskar Rohr.
2. Iceland are still not out of the World Cup
From their first match against Argentina till halftime against the African nation, Iceland looked like a team capable of beating the odds. The Nordic nation just need to repeat it against what is likely to be a depleted Croatian side, whose main players might just be rested.
If they win against the European nation, then Argentina will have a task at hand to qualify from the group.
1. Nigeria can beat Argentina
Today the Nigerians looked like a solid team tipped for the Round of 16. Although, they started off slowly, but thy won the battle right from the beginning of the second half.
Argentina are a side in the middle of a crisis right now and Nigeria could just repeat a Croatian spanking of the La Albiceleste.
Nigeria face Argentina in their next group stage fixture. Iceland faces table-toppers Croatia next. It is a do-or-die match for both nations.
Published: Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:38 AM IST