For Argentina the 2018 World Cup will be something of a farewell party. An end of an era that many consider unfulfilling is at hand. While Argentina is a consistent World Cup sportsbook betting favorite they never quite finish. In fact, they are considered to be the ultimate underachiever. For superstar Lionel Messi this is a final shot at World Cup glory. Messi is likely to be unleashed in the quest of a championship. The question is if there will be enough defense for the Argentines. Meanwhile Iceland is the smallest populated country to make the World Cup.
Iceland vs. Argentina
Date and Time: Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9 a.m. ET
Location: Otkritie Arena, Moscow
World Cup Betting Online Odds: Iceland +1 ½ (-132), Argentina -1 ½ (+117), Over 2 ½ +127, Under 2 ½ (-147), Iceland +1145, Argentina -270, Draw +372
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings
While not a power Iceland is renowned for toughness and discipline. Mental resiliency is a team trait opponents respect them for. Beyond that, they actually boast good players. Indoor facilities have helped their national program take off. However, the reality is that Iceland is a +15000 World Cup sportsbook betting long shot. Having qualified for the first time ever there is no history of success for this club. Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is a practicing dentist. He has led Iceland for two years. Hallgrimsson was promoted internally as an assistant coach. Tactical flexibility is his strength.
Iceland captain Aron Einar Gunnarsson supplies much of the heart of the team. He has two goals and 77 caps as midfielder. Never giving in or quitting is how he leads by example. Gylfi Sigurdsson was the top scorer in qualifying. He has 22 goals and 44 caps in his career. Sigurdsson is one of the most intelligent players on the team. Of concern is a knee injury sustained while playing for Everton.
Argentina is one of the best known sportsbook online teams in this tournament. Along those same lines Lionel Messi is one of world’s best known players. Messi has 61 goals and 123 caps for his career. Fellow forwards Sergio Aguero and Gonzal Higuain also contribute. Aguero has 36 goals with 84 caps. With 70 caps Higuain has scored 31 goals. Dependence upon Messi is considered a team weakness. Argentina was vastly inconstant in qualifying. Reliance on Messi was a big reason as to why.
Head coach Jorge Sampaoli could be exactly what Argentina needs. He fits well with this current veteran group of players. Everyone knows the roster will be quite different four years from now. Accordingly, Sampaoli will unleash this crew with pressing and attacking. What has to be solved is the lack of defensive pace required for this style. Developing structure that brings in help for Messi is a full-time job. Despite finishing second in 2014 Argentina is no longer considered top tier.
Matchup to Watch
Iceland is a respectable World Cup sportsbook betting choice. However, they are outclassed here. Despite the constant negativity Argentina is a high-quality team. They will have the best player on the pitch. And plenty of help to go with him. Too much depth for Argentina is the matchup edge.
World Cup Betting Odds Picks
Argentina will eventually wear down plucky Iceland.
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Argentina
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Argentina 2, Iceland 0
For Lionel Messi it’s now or never!