FIFA World Cup Day 9 Predictions Including Nigeria vs Iceland

Heading into the weekend there will be 3 matches on Friday at the FIFA World Cup as Brazil looks to secure 3 points against Costa Rica, and the winner of Iceland vs Nigeria will move closer to qualification on match day 2. Our panelists offer their previews with predictions.

Nigeria vs Iceland (Friday in Volgograd)

Steen Kirby: Nigeria struggled mightily in their first outing against Croatia, by contrast Iceland was defensively sound against Argentina and came away with a draw. Nigeria aren’t a bad side on paper, but given Iceland simply played better in their opening outing you’d expect them to come away with 3 points here with another good defensive performance. Iceland 1-0

John Bava: Iceland proved their magical Euro 2016 run was no fluke when they went toe to toe with Lionel Messi and Argentina, sharing the spoils in the process. In match two, they take on Nigeria who looked fairly ineffective in a 2-0 loss to Croatia who’ve already booked their spot in the round of 16. Given the Croats’ spanking of Argentina, the Super Eagles don’t necessarily need a win here to stay alive. But a loss adds to an already forgettable tournament for African sides as they’ll become the third of five to be out of contention for a knockout round spot after two games. In the end, the Icelandic momentum carries on with a narrow victory. Iceland 1-0

Brazil vs Costa Rica (Friday in St. Petersburg)

Steen: Costa Rica is clearly the worst team in this group while Brazil is aiming to come out as the best one. Switzerland’s physical playstyle bothered Neymar and the Brazilians in their opening game, but I’m not convinced Costa Rica can employ the style needed to get a result here. If Neymar stops hogging the ball Brazil will get 3 points out of this one. Brazil 2-0

John: Friday’s trio of matches begins with two teams in need of a result to get their World Cup campaigns back onto solid footing. Brazil, who drew with Switzerland to start the tournament, will have to do so without right back Danilo who suffered an injury in training. They face a Costa Rica side in need of a positive outcome after falling to Serbia in their opener. Will the Ticos target Neymar in the manner the Swiss did when they fouled him 10 times? And who will shine brighter: Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas or Brazil’s cavalcade of attacking players. Ultimately, the latter sees the Seleção through in St. Petersburg. Brazil 2-1

Serbia vs Switzerland (Friday in Kaliningrad)

Steen: Switzerland needs something from this game to be positioned to qualify, while a win for Serbia would ensure the knockout stages. Switzerland is a cohesive side but Serbia is a bit underappreciated and I think the most likely outcome here is even terms with Serbia moving to 4 points and Switzerland moving to 2. 1-1 draw

John: Group E’s two European squads do battle in Kaliningrad on Friday. Serbia is looking to join fellow Balkan side Croatia in the round of 16 and they can do so with a win against Switzerland. It would mark the first time they’ve made it out of the group stage since they began competing as an independent nation. These two combatants are a major reason this tournament has been dominated by set piece goals. Both of their lone goals so far, scored by Serbia’s Aleksandar Kolarov and Switzerland’s Steven Zuber, came via this route. Expect a physical affair that culminates with shared points.  1-1 draw

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