World Cup 2018: Iceland v Croatia


Iceland centre-back Ragnar Sigurdsson is a doubt for the game after being forced off against Nigeria with a head injury.

Winger Johann Gudmundsson missed that defeat with a muscle problem, and will also be assessed.

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic may opt to make numerous changes, with his already assured of their place in the last 16.

Forward Andrej Kramaric dropped out of the starting line-up against Argentina and could earn a recall.

Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rabic, Sime Vrsaljko, Mario Mandzukic, Marcelo Brozovic and Vedran Corluka are all one booking away from a ban, and are therefore unlikely to play.


Iceland head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson: “We were ahead of them in our (qualifying) group and we’ve already beaten them once in Iceland, so we at least have that confidence with us when we play them.”

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren: “It is a real pleasure to play with Luka Modric, who is one of the best players in the world right now.

“Modric would probably be getting more attention than he is right now if he was a German or Spanish player. He would maybe even be a Ballon d’Or winner.”


Croatia are likely to make changes, but I just have a feeling Iceland will miss out somehow. It will not be for a lack of effort, though.

Prediction: 0-0



  • Iceland have only won one of their six previous games against Croatia (D1, L4), with all of those meetings coming in World Cup qualifying.
  • But Iceland finished above Croatia in qualifying for this tournament. They beat the Croats 1-0 in Reykjavik in June 2017, avenging a 2-0 loss in Zagreb in November 2016.


  • Iceland are hoping to become the first World Cup debutants to make the knockout stage of a World Cup tournament since Slovakia in 2010.
  • Defeat to Nigeria was Iceland’s first ever defeat in the group stage of major tournament (W1, D3).
  • It was also the first time in seven matches at a World Cup or European Championship that they have failed to score in.


  • Croatia, who have never previously finished top of a World Cup group, can win three successive games at the tournament for the first time.
  • The last time the Croats won their opening two World Cup games was in 1998, when they went on to reach the semi-finals.
  • They have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four World Cup games, as many as they had in their previous 12 in the competition.
  • Luka Modric has scored with both of his shots on target so far at this World Cup.
  • Two of Modric’s four goals in major tournaments for Croatia have been struck from outside the box.

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