At first glance, there may not be an obvious Group of Death at the World Cup this summer but Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria, and Argentina are likely to disagree. The Croats have named their squad for the tournament.
Argentina may well be one of the favorites to win the World Cup but their over-reliance on Lionel Messi and struggles to qualify for Russia in the first place means they are more vulnerable than many would expect.
— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) May 21, 2018
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Iceland showed at the Euros two years that they aren’t a country to take too lightly when it comes to the tournament, no matter how many times commentators tell us what percentage of the population is there to watch in Russia for emphasis.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have an extremely talented squad with the likes of John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi and Wilfried Ndidi in midfield and Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo in attacking positions.
Finally, Croatia, the heroes of the 1998 tournament, are not to be ruled out. The Croats have named a very talented squad that includes the likes of Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic, and Luka Modric:
There’s plenty of recognizable names for fans of Premier League clubs with Vedran Corluka and Luka Modric having both played in England for Spurs, with Corluka also turning out for Manchester City.
Dejan Lovren of course still plays for Liverpool and could go into the tournament in Russia as a Champions League winner should the Reds beat Modric’s Real Madrid in the final on Saturday.
Sime Vrsaljko has just won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid and the right-back was, of course, sent off in the semi-final first leg against Arsenal but the Gunners weren’t able to take advantage.
Ivan Perisic spent last summer being linked with a move to Manchester United but the winger stayed put at Inter Milan instead, who have now qualified for next season’s Champions League.
I don’t like to make too many predictions, and they’re usually wrong, but I’m going for Croatia to beat Argentina in the Group Stage, 21st June- watch out for it!
(I didn’t expect to get through that article without talking about their incredible run to the 1998 semi-finals!)