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Can Iceland Take Advantage of Croatia’s ‘B Team’?

Jun 26, 2018 12:05 AM EDT

Iceland vs. Croatia, 2 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

  • Iceland +262
  • Croatia +115
  • Draw +235

Bet to Watch:

Under 2.25* -113

There are a lot of moving parts in Group D, but this much is simple: Iceland need to win to advance to the Round of 16. If ‎Strákarnir okkar do get the three points over Croatia, they are very much alive but will need to get by on goal difference. The best case scenario for the underdogs from the North Atlantic is to win and hope Argentina beats Nigeria, 1-0. There are other balls in the air, but let’s not get bogged down and focus on this intriguing match.

Croatia drew the ire of Argentina after their head coach, Zlatko Dalic, announced that he is likely going to rest star players such as Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic against Iceland. It’s hard to blame Dalic, as some of these players are on yellow cards and are a suspension risk, although they could still finish second in the group if Nigeria beat Argentina and Croatia lose to Iceland.

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If Dalic does send out a ‘B-Team’, Iceland are a live dog here, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll just overrun the Vatreni. As we’ve seen in their first two matches, Iceland are best suited to play a counter-attacking style against teams that want the ball. In a game that they need to win, they won’t have the luxury of sitting back, and I think that lends itself to a pretty ugly game, as Iceland don’t have the type of playmakers needed to pass through a well-organized side. Their best chance of finding the back of the net will be through a set piece.

Croatia will be happy to sit back and let Iceland try to break them down, and that’s going to prove a difficult task. If Iceland do get a goal, though, I see them parking the bus and hanging on for dear life. This game feels like its set up for the under and I don’t hate a bet on the 0-0 exact scoreline.

*This is called an Asian handicap, which means half your bet is placed on Under 2 and the other half of your bet is placed on Under 2.5.

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