The top two teams in Group I of 2018 World Cup qualifying will be meeting this Sunday, June 11th at the Laugardalsvollur Stadium in Reykjavik when Iceland hosts Croatia. The Croatians currently lead the group with 13 points while Iceland is right behind them with 10. Ukraine and Turkey share third place with eight points each while Finland and Kosovo are cohabitating in the basement with each team having just one point.
Iceland vs Croatia – Pinnacle World Cup Qualifying Odds:
- bet365 currently lists Croatia as the favorites to win the game at +115 with Iceland +287 and a draw at +232
World Cup Qualifying Odds – Iceland vs Croatia Head to Head:
- These two teams last met on November 12th in a World Cup qualifier and with Croatia winning 2-0 at home. The two sides have met just five times in the past between 2005 and the present with Croatia going unbeaten on four wins and a draw. They’ve also outscored Iceland 11-1 in those games.
Iceland – A Closer Look:
Iceland enters the big game in second spot in the six-team group with 10 points. They have three wins, a loss and a draw with eight goals for and six against. The squad is currently ranked 21st in the world by FIFA with their highest ever ranking being number 20 back in February. They’ve also been ranked as low as 131 between April and June of 2012. Iceland has four victories and two defeats their past half dozen outings. Their last match was a 1-0 away win over the Republic of Ireland in a friendly in March.
Iceland has played five straight games away from home with three wins and two losses to show for their efforts. The side is currently managed by Helmir Hallgrimsson Aron Gunnarsson being listed as the nation’s current team captain. Iceland made its unofficial debut in 1930 and the country’s official debut came 16 years late. The team has never qualified for a world Cup in the past. Their only appearance in a major tournament came at the European Championships in France last summer where they reached the final eight.
Croatia – A Closer Look:
Croatia enters this game as the Group I leaders. They’re unbeaten so far with four wins and a draw while scoring a group-high 11 goals and conceding a group-low one against. Croatia is currently ranked number 18 in the world by FIFA with their highest ever ranking being third in January of 1999. Croatia has five wins and a loss in their past six encounters. Their last game was a 2-1 away win in Mexico on May 27th.
The Croatian squad is currently managed by Ante Cacic with Luka Modric being the team’s skipper. The team debuted as Croatia in 1940 and then played as the former nation of Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1990. Croatia then became an independent nation and has played under their own name since 1990. The team has appeared in four World Cups since then with their best result being a third-place finish in France n 1998. They’ve also appeared in five European championships and made the final eight in 1996 and 2008.
World Cup Qualifying Odds – Iceland vs Croatia Takeaway:
Iceland can tie Croatia for first place with a win, but both Turkey and Ukraine can pass them if Iceland loses and those nations win. Therefore, it’s a huge game. There are seven European groups of six teams with two groups having five teams. The nine group winners will automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the eight second-place teams with the best records will enter a two-game playoff series.