The first fixture went about as well as Iceland could have possibly hoped… even the most partisan Icelanders wouldn’t have expected more than a point against two-time world champions Argentina!
So it’s a very solid start for Jón Daði Böðvarsson… Nigeria and Croatia are the remaining two group games. The African nation lie in wait first, this Friday.
Let’s take a look ahead to the task at hand for the Royals striker and his compatriots…
Iceland vs Nigeria
Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
Friday 22nd June 2018, 4pm (UK time)
Anyone who saw the pre-World Cup friendly against England would agree that Nigeria looked pretty sharp – and that’s not just their kits!
Under German manager Gernot Rohr, Nigeria have a squad that play all over the globe; goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa is the only one based in their home nation. Followers of the Premier League will be familiar with Leicester duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho, Arsenal attacker Alex Iwobi and Chelsea forward Victor Moses… not to mention their captain John Obi Mikel, now representing Tianjin TEDA in China.
It’ll be just the second time in history that Iceland have played Nigeria – the first was a 3-0 win for the European side… although that came way back in 1981!
Qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 1994, the Super Eagles have been to every finals tournament since with the exception of Germany 2006.
Not the prettiest game we’ve seen at the tournament in Nigeria’s first group outing – a 2-0 defeat to Croatia. For the Super Eagles, that means they simply cannot afford to lose this one against Iceland if they want to stand a chance of progressing.
Croatia’s win sees them sit at the top of the pile in Group B – Iceland and Argentina are level-pegging with a point apiece while Nigeria sit bottom.
Whatever the result for Iceland, nothing will be decided until the final day… but a win against Nigeria would mean they control their own destiny going into the last game against Croatia in Rostov.
Jón Daði Böðvarsson was an unused sub for Iceland in the first fixture; he’ll be trying to push for a position in this second game.
The Volgograd Arena was the scene of England’s win against Tunisia on Monday – and will also host Group A’s dead rubber between Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Japan’s final Group H game against Poland.
Rebuilt on the site Rotor Volgograd’s former stadium, the new ground was opened in time for the World Cup and seats 43,713 supporters. Russian second-tier side Rotor will move in next season.
The fixture will be broadcast live in the UK on BBC1 – coverage begins at 3.30pm ahead of the 4pm kick-off.
Team news will be announced on social media approximately 90 minutes ahead of the game – follow @footballiceland on Twitter to see whether Jón Daði Böðvarsson is in the starting XI!