FIFA World Cup Today Matches


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World Cup qualification (UEFA Second Round): Iceland vs. Croatia

World Cup qualification (UEFA Second Round): Iceland vs. Croatia

Match Date: 15 November 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík

 

Iceland

Of the eight best runners-up from the group stage, Iceland ranked sixth. The team accumulated 14 points from the earlier rounds, with a record of W5-D2-L3. They were seven points short of the table leaders’ (Switzerland) score, but were nevertheless fortunate to end up second and secure seeding in the play-offs (second round) for a potential entry to the finals next year.

In the group stage, Iceland showed skills in their attacking maneuvers, as evidenced by the 17 goals they scored from 10 matches. They were, however, less spectacular at protecting their defense. Lars Lagerbäck’s lads conceded more goals than anyone else in their cluster but one. Sævarsson,  Sigurðsson,  Skúlason, and all of their other colleagues in the defense should pay more attention to this pitch discipline if they do not want their attackers find the net that easily.

 

Croatia

Aiming to obtain immediate berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, Croatia had to fight really hard in the qualification’s group stage. To be fair, their efforts paid off but not enough to hit their main target. Belgium ended up to be the cluster’s best footballers, and were thus automatically qualified to the Brazil tournament. Croatia finished as runners up and after raking the last (but crucial) spot in the rankings of ‘eight best second placers,’ they obtained second chance via the play-offs.

Croatia’s attacking mechanism is not necessarily among the strongest in their cluster during the group stage (in fact, the third placers earned more goals than they did). However, they are very skilled at fortifying their defense. They were the second best players to not concede a goal, just behind Belgium. If they could maintain (or even improve) their propensity in this department and become more creative in their offense, then Croatia may well be able to earn a shot in the finals.

 

World Cup betting tip: For the first leg of their UEFA Second Round meeting, Iceland and Croatia will vaunt skills at which they are best known for. Iceland are very adept at finishing scoring chances while Croatia are good at shielding the goal area. When their strengths on both areas are measured and compared, however, it would appear that Iceland have the greater chance of leaving the pitch victorious. This clash could be an absolute thriller, but the home side will ultimately carry day.

 

Iceland | Image source: fifa.com

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