FIFA World Cup Day 3 Predictions Including Argentina vs Iceland

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is off to a great start. On Saturday four games will take place, headlined by Argentina and France beginning their tournaments. Our panel, featuring Kartik Krishnaiyer of World Soccer Talk offer up their previews and predictions of all the action.

France vs Australia (Saturday in Kazan)

Steen: Australia clawed their way into this World Cup despite some disappointing performances in qualifying. France has all the pieces they need to lift the trophy this year, but putting it all together consistently has been a bit of challenge. Australia simply lacks the quality to compete in this one it looks like, even if they nick a goal I’m not convinced they won’t surrender at least 2. France 3-1

Kartik: The French are one of the favorites in this competition – on paper they’re a deep and loaded squad. But historically France has had some volatile players and have in recent international competitions underachieved. Losing the Euro 2016 Final at home to Portugal was a major shock. Nonetheless, the French should win this match easily. Australia is still reliant on the 37 year-old Tim Cahill for inspiration and have had a very difficult time bringing younger players into the squad effectively. The assumption among many is that Australia will be among the weakest teams in the competition. France 3-0

Peru vs Denmark (Saturday in Saransk)

Steen: A quality mid-level South American side against a quality mid-level European side, this is an interesting continental clash. Denmark has a genuine star in Christian Eriksen and some experienced players around the ground. Peru has a ton of spark though with captain Paolo Guerrero returning and Jefferson Farfan, who plies his trade in Russia, as their striker. I’ll back Peru to at least get points here, and a win looks possible. Peru 2-1

Kartik: The Danes feature one of the best players in the Premier League – Spurs’ Christian Eriksen. Denmark was able to qualify beating the Republic of Ireland in a two-leg playoff. Peru provides a formidable test and the return of Captain Paolo Guerrero from suspension should make all the difference going forward. Peru qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1982. Denmark historically has been competitive in World Cups and European champions. A draw is the most likely result here. 1-1 draw

Argentina vs Iceland (Saturday in Moscow)

Steen: Argentina is the better team, full stop. That said, Argentina has underperformed internationally in the past 12 months, while Iceland is the textbook definition of a national side that punches above their weight. I have a feeling Argentina will bring too much attacking pressure to bear in this one though. Iceland should continue their recent form struggles and fail to get a point in this one. Argentina 2-0

Kartik: Argentina made a mess out of qualifying but have arrived in Russia with high expectations. Jorge Sampaoli, an accomplished coach who led Chile to the Round of 16 in 2014 has taken the helm of his native country. Boasting the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, Argentina on paper look a strong side. Iceland were the darlings of Euro 2016 reaching the semifinals and topped a qualifying group for this tournament that included Croatia and Ukraine. Iceland should keep this competitive. A draw may be the safest pick, but Argentina will feel they need to win this match and likely will, but by a narrow scoreline. Argentina 2-1

Croatia vs Nigeria (Saturday in Kaliningrad)

Steen: Croatia has a ton of talent but they haven’t been the most well run national side. Nigeria carries African hopes in a big way (along with Senegal) and their supporters will be hoping to serve as a dark horse this World Cup.  I wouldn’t count the Super Eagles out, but when you look at the lineups Croatia should at least get a result here. 1-1 draw

Kartik: In terms of player quality, Croatia enters every major tournament as a dark horse. But they never seem to equal the sum of their parts. After making a mess out of qualifying, the side led by Real Madrid midfield maestro Luka Modric enter this World Cup with lots of questions marks. Defensively Croatia is suspect and despite having one of the best midfields in the tournament the attacking options are limited. The opposition in the opening match, Nigeria are one of Africa’s best sides with plenty of firepower. Given the tendency of Croatia to underperform in tournaments this will probably be a draw. 1-1 draw

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