FIFA World Cup Day 13 Predictions Including Nigeria vs Argentina

Groups C and D will be settled on Tuesday at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as France and Denmark look to settle group C, while Argentina or Iceland will look to advance past Nigeria and join Croatia in the knockout stages from group D. Our panelists offer their predictions.

Australia vs Peru (Tuesday in Sochi)

Steen Kirby: Australia must win to have a chance at reaching the knockout stages, while Peru wants to finish third in the group as a matter of pride (a win is required to do that). Peru is better than the Aussies as a squad but Australia has put together a better World Cup. With Peru not producing a goal in 2 games, Australia should manage a draw, but I don’t see a win in the cards unless Tim Cahill gets  a chance. 1-1 draw

Lukas Weese: This is a battle between two countries playing for pride (though Australia has a narrow chance of qualifying). They’ve each had disappointing World Cup tenures thus far but are looking to salvage their performance with a win. Given Peru hasn’t been in the World Cup for so long and their talent in the midfield and striker position, I see them coming away with a win. 2-0 Peru

John Bava: Australia certainly doesn’t control their destiny heading into the group finale. They could get a win against Peru and still face elimination depending on the result of France and Denmark. But if they get help from Les Bleus, they can make the round of 16 for the second time in their history if they win and finish with a better goal differential than the Danes. It will be interesting to see if Tim Cahill plays. The 38-year-old Australian legend still has yet to see action and for a team that has yet to score an open play goal, they seem to need all the help they can get in attack. Ultimately, La Blanquirroja end their tournament on a high note with their first World Cup win since June 11, 1978. Peru 2-1

France vs Denmark (Tuesday in Moscow)

Steen: If Denmark wins they will top the group, a draw makes sure they advance (but in the second position). France has not been dominant, but they have won both of their games and ensured qualification. I don’t think France will pressure too hard in this one and some Christian Eriksen magic should be enough to ensure Denmark advances. 1-1 draw

Lukas: This is a matchup featuring the top two nations in Group C. They have both advanced to the Knockout stage but are looking for better positioning and an easier Round of 16 fixture. I think France has shown its depth and talent thus far this tournament. It’ll be a close opening half but I see Griezmann or Pogba taking over with their stellar play, opening the game up with a huge go ahead goal. 1-0 France 

John: France are already through to the round of 16 and their opponent on Tuesday, Denmark, can join them with a tie or even a loss if the right things happen in Australia-Peru. The Danes will be without the services of Yussuf Poulsen who will serve a suspension after receiving yellow cards in their first two group games. They certainly need a big game out of attacking mid Christian Eriksen and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to get a result in Moscow. But players like Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud might have something to say as Les Bleus hope to win all three group games for the first time since winning it all in 1998. France 2-0

Nigeria vs Argentina (Tuesday in St. Petersburg)

Steen: Nigeria qualifies for the knockout stages with a win, while a draw probably ensures their passage. Argentina must win and hope that Croatia (the team that put them into this position on match day 2) helps them advance as the second team from this group. Nigeria are heavy underdogs at the sportsbooks but I’m honestly not sure why. Opinions about Lionel Messi may vary, but this Argentine team hasn’t been good for quite some time and the players have lost faith in their manager. By contrast the Super Eagles were closer to being super on match day 2 compared to their first match and I’m not sure why Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses can’t slice apart a poor Argentine backline. Nigeria will qualify while Argentina will complete their implosion. Nigeria 3-1

Lukas: If Nigeria draws or wins outright, they are advancing to the knockout stage. Argentina needs to win in order to have any hope advancing to the Round of 16. There is rumour Argentine legend Diego Maradona will speak to the team ahead of this match. Nigeria has shown it can compete with the top nations of the world. Can Messi lead his team to the knockout stage? Even after a disappointing performance against Croatia, I say yes, with a late go ahead goal as a result of dictating possession. 2-1 Argentina

John: The Argentina camp is a proverbial soap opera after their blowout loss at the hands of Croatia. There are rumors that the players, not manager Jorge Sampaoli, will pick the starting XI for Tuesday’s important match against Nigeria. It’s an absolute must-win situation for La Albiceleste who trail the Super Eagles by two points heading into the group finale. Will the infighting doom them to a shocking first round exit while at the same time hurting Lionel Messi’s legacy? Or can they get it all together and sneak into second place in Group D? With their backs against the wall, they inevitably pull through. Argentina 3-1

Iceland vs Croatia (Tuesday in Rostov)

Steen: Iceland could factor into the qualification considerations with a win, but beating Croatia has been a tough task that no other team in the group has managed thus far. The Balkan side have 5 goals to none this tournament and the Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic midfield pairing has been a terror on opposition teams. With Iceland producing just one goal in 2 games I’m not sure where their firepower comes from. Croatia should continue to show strength. Croatia 2-0

Lukas: Like Argentina, Iceland needs to win outright in order to have a chance to advance to the Round of 16. Croatia has nothing to play for but an undefeated record, as they have guaranteed themselves winners of Group D and a spot to the Final 16. Iceland relies heavily on their defense and counterattack. I think Croatia is playing at such a high level with their brilliant set pieces, which will lead to their third consecutive victory of this World Cup. 2-0 Croatia

John: Croatia are arguably the most impressive team at the tournament through two games. That was made fairly evident in a dominating win over Argentina in which they completely controlled the midfield. On Tuesday night in Rostov-On-Don, they face an Iceland team which came back down to earth against Nigeria after their famous draw with the Argentines. With Croatia already qualified for the round of 16, will they rest some of their key players? That might be Iceland’s only hope of garnering their first-ever World Cup win. The only scenarios for them to advance would be a victory combined with an Argentina win/tie along with finishing with superior goal difference. In the end, Croatia’s quality proves too much. Croatia 2-1

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