Nigeria out to silence Iceland in Group D clash

Nigeria out to silence Iceland in Group D clash
epa06814232 Ivan Strinic of Croatia (L) and Alex Iwobi of Nigeria in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group D preliminary round soccer match between Croatia and Nigeria in Kaliningrad, Russia, 16 June 2018.

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jun 21, 2018. 12:00

Nigeria will lock horns with Iceland in their second 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D match at the Volgograd Arena in Russia on Friday.

Kick-off is at 17h00 CAT.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria began their group stage campaign with a 2-0 defeat to European side Croatia last weekend.

As a result, Nigeria are placed at the bottom of Group D standings without a single point. They find themselves three points behind the leaders Croatia.

The three-time Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions need to secure a victory over Iceland in order to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive.

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel says he is ready to sacrifice a position, go play wherever Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr deploys him against Iceland.

“I am the captain of this team. If I have to sacrifice for this team to progress, I will,” Mikel told the media.

“If I have to sacrifice a position, go play wherever, I will do that for this team to win games. We are very hopeful and confident because everything is still in our own hands. It just depends on how much we want it.

“The result against Croatia was disappointing but we can fix it,” the Tianjin TEDA midfielder concluded.

Meanwhile, Iceland managed to hold South American giants Argentina to a 1-1 stalemate in their first ever World Cup game last weekend.

The draw took Our Boys to third place on the Group D standings with one point. They are two points behind the leaders Croatia with two games left.

The European side, who are coached by Heimir Hallgrimsson, will boost their chances of reaching the Round of 16 if they secure a victory against the Super Eagles.

Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson says they need to forget about their famous draw with Argentina and target a win over Nigeria.

"We have a game of great importance against Nigeria. We can not relax now,” Gunnarsson said.

“If we are not focused on Nigeria and we can not get a good result. This point against Argentina will not do any good,” the Cardiff City FC midfielder added.

In head-to-head stats according to the website, Nigeria and Iceland have clashed once with Our Boys securing a win.

Match referee Matthew Conger, who hails from New Zealand, will be in charge of the game between Nigeria and Iceland.

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