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Kieran Trippier, or the ‘Bury Beckham’ as he has been christened on social media, has always had a taste for the big occasion, an ability to elevate his level when the pressure is highest. He showed it on Monday night, when he was one of England’s standout performers in their opening World Cup match, and he showed it 11 years ago, in the Bury Schools’ Cup final. Different stages, certainly, but for a teenaged, shaven-headed Trippier, a final against the local school rivals was as important as anything. “He would take those games really seriously,” remembers Lee Garcka, Trippier’s PE teacher at Woodhey High School. “His family were watching, and those were the games when he really shone. He scored a hat-trick, and it was the best hat-trick I have ever seen from any player, at any level.” For his first goal, the 16-year-old Trippier ran from his own half, beating four defenders, and slotted the ball into the corner. The second was a volley from 35 yards, and the third was a curling effort from the edge of the box. At the time, Trippier was progressing through the ranks at Manchester City’s academy and was not even supposed to be playing school football. Garcka would often leave for games thinking that Trippier was training with City but then find him half a mile down the road, having rushed home from City, waiting for the school minibus to pick him up. Trippier with his school PE teacher Lee Garcka, who says he has always had the talent for the big occasions Credit: Lee Garcka Jim Cassell, the former youth academy director at City, was all too aware of a teenage Trippier’s appetite for simply playing as often as he could. “There was a period of time where the boys at the academy were stopped from playing for their school,” Cassell says. “But I knew that Kieran played, and I never bothered [trying to stop him] because he would play anywhere. I would go to watch my son playing 5-a-side, and Kieran would be there.” Trippier, the youngest of four brothers from the market town of Ramsbottom, had been scouted by Manchester United when he was eight years old, but joined City soon after. “The thing I remember was that, even as a nine-year-old, Kieran was an absolutely beautiful striker of the ball,” Cassell says. “I would say he is probably England’s best crosser since David Beckham. He was also a chirpy character, which is what you want to see in kids.” As he grew older, still shining at City, that “chirpiness” threatened to become a problem. At the age of 14 or 15, Garcka says Trippier had developed a “bit of an edge”, and there was concern that he might turn down the wrong path. Pick your England XI to face Panama He was helped by the close mentoring of the school’s former headteacher, Martin Braidley, and by Cassell. “We lived near each other,” Cassell says, “so I used to give him a lift home. I would constantly tell him: ‘Kieran, if you live right you will make it, big-time.’” The message sunk in, and Trippier matured in his final years of school as he continued to hone his natural ability at City. He was part of the City team which won the FA Youth Cup in 2008 and in 2010, aged 19, was loaned to Barnsley for his first experience of adult football. The early impressions were good. Trippier arrived with confidence, which bordered on cockiness, and also with resilience. “He was a young kid at the time but he went straight into the team,” says David Preece, the former Barnsley goalkeeper. “He is one of the best players I have ever seen at crossing the ball on the run — that’s the one thing that really stood out.” Preece, who changed next to Trippier in the dressing room, used to joke that the slender lad alongside him looked like Stewie Griffin, the cartoon baby from comedy series Family Guy, but there were no issues with physical robustness. “He was tough,” Preece says. “He was never a pushover.” England's team leak is embarrassing for all involved Trippier’s excellent performances, including a penchant for scoring free-kicks, earned him a move to Burnley, where the arrival of Sean Dyche added defensive solidity to his more obvious technical talents. Trippier’s gratitude to his former manager was evident in December, when he was spotted at the darts with a sign saying ‘Ginger Mourinho = Sean Dyche’. Trippier’s £3.5 million move to Tottenham Hotspur, in 2015, remains one of the best Premier League bargains in recent years. Under Mauricio Pochettino, and particularly following the departure of Kyle Walker to City last summer, he has become more consistent and more creative. He adapted again, and then adapted to England, where a wing-back role clearly suits his abilities. “Every time he has to step up, he has been able to do it,” Garcka says. “He has done it again and again. Each time he is asked to go up a level, he meets that challenge.” World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Kieran Trippier has always been able to step up when it matters - it's no different with England, says former teacher
Kieran Trippier, or the ‘Bury Beckham’ as he has been christened on social media, has always had a taste for the big occasion, an ability to elevate his level when the pressure is highest. He showed it on Monday night, when he was one of England’s standout performers in their opening World Cup match, and he showed it 11 years ago, in the Bury Schools’ Cup final. Different stages, certainly, but for a teenaged, shaven-headed Trippier, a final against the local school rivals was as important as anything. “He would take those games really seriously,” remembers Lee Garcka, Trippier’s PE teacher at Woodhey High School. “His family were watching, and those were the games when he really shone. He scored a hat-trick, and it was the best hat-trick I have ever seen from any player, at any level.” For his first goal, the 16-year-old Trippier ran from his own half, beating four defenders, and slotted the ball into the corner. The second was a volley from 35 yards, and the third was a curling effort from the edge of the box. At the time, Trippier was progressing through the ranks at Manchester City’s academy and was not even supposed to be playing school football. Garcka would often leave for games thinking that Trippier was training with City but then find him half a mile down the road, having rushed home from City, waiting for the school minibus to pick him up. Trippier with his school PE teacher Lee Garcka, who says he has always had the talent for the big occasions Credit: Lee Garcka Jim Cassell, the former youth academy director at City, was all too aware of a teenage Trippier’s appetite for simply playing as often as he could. “There was a period of time where the boys at the academy were stopped from playing for their school,” Cassell says. “But I knew that Kieran played, and I never bothered [trying to stop him] because he would play anywhere. I would go to watch my son playing 5-a-side, and Kieran would be there.” Trippier, the youngest of four brothers from the market town of Ramsbottom, had been scouted by Manchester United when he was eight years old, but joined City soon after. “The thing I remember was that, even as a nine-year-old, Kieran was an absolutely beautiful striker of the ball,” Cassell says. “I would say he is probably England’s best crosser since David Beckham. He was also a chirpy character, which is what you want to see in kids.” As he grew older, still shining at City, that “chirpiness” threatened to become a problem. At the age of 14 or 15, Garcka says Trippier had developed a “bit of an edge”, and there was concern that he might turn down the wrong path. Pick your England XI to face Panama He was helped by the close mentoring of the school’s former headteacher, Martin Braidley, and by Cassell. “We lived near each other,” Cassell says, “so I used to give him a lift home. I would constantly tell him: ‘Kieran, if you live right you will make it, big-time.’” The message sunk in, and Trippier matured in his final years of school as he continued to hone his natural ability at City. He was part of the City team which won the FA Youth Cup in 2008 and in 2010, aged 19, was loaned to Barnsley for his first experience of adult football. The early impressions were good. Trippier arrived with confidence, which bordered on cockiness, and also with resilience. “He was a young kid at the time but he went straight into the team,” says David Preece, the former Barnsley goalkeeper. “He is one of the best players I have ever seen at crossing the ball on the run — that’s the one thing that really stood out.” Preece, who changed next to Trippier in the dressing room, used to joke that the slender lad alongside him looked like Stewie Griffin, the cartoon baby from comedy series Family Guy, but there were no issues with physical robustness. “He was tough,” Preece says. “He was never a pushover.” England's team leak is embarrassing for all involved Trippier’s excellent performances, including a penchant for scoring free-kicks, earned him a move to Burnley, where the arrival of Sean Dyche added defensive solidity to his more obvious technical talents. Trippier’s gratitude to his former manager was evident in December, when he was spotted at the darts with a sign saying ‘Ginger Mourinho = Sean Dyche’. Trippier’s £3.5 million move to Tottenham Hotspur, in 2015, remains one of the best Premier League bargains in recent years. Under Mauricio Pochettino, and particularly following the departure of Kyle Walker to City last summer, he has become more consistent and more creative. He adapted again, and then adapted to England, where a wing-back role clearly suits his abilities. “Every time he has to step up, he has been able to do it,” Garcka says. “He has done it again and again. Each time he is asked to go up a level, he meets that challenge.” World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Kieran Trippier, or the ‘Bury Beckham’ as he has been christened on social media, has always had a taste for the big occasion, an ability to elevate his level when the pressure is highest. He showed it on Monday night, when he was one of England’s standout performers in their opening World Cup match, and he showed it 11 years ago, in the Bury Schools’ Cup final. Different stages, certainly, but for a teenaged, shaven-headed Trippier, a final against the local school rivals was as important as anything. “He would take those games really seriously,” remembers Lee Garcka, Trippier’s PE teacher at Woodhey High School. “His family were watching, and those were the games when he really shone. He scored a hat-trick, and it was the best hat-trick I have ever seen from any player, at any level.” For his first goal, the 16-year-old Trippier ran from his own half, beating four defenders, and slotted the ball into the corner. The second was a volley from 35 yards, and the third was a curling effort from the edge of the box. At the time, Trippier was progressing through the ranks at Manchester City’s academy and was not even supposed to be playing school football. Garcka would often leave for games thinking that Trippier was training with City but then find him half a mile down the road, having rushed home from City, waiting for the school minibus to pick him up. Trippier with his school PE teacher Lee Garcka, who says he has always had the talent for the big occasions Credit: Lee Garcka Jim Cassell, the former youth academy director at City, was all too aware of a teenage Trippier’s appetite for simply playing as often as he could. “There was a period of time where the boys at the academy were stopped from playing for their school,” Cassell says. “But I knew that Kieran played, and I never bothered [trying to stop him] because he would play anywhere. I would go to watch my son playing 5-a-side, and Kieran would be there.” Trippier, the youngest of four brothers from the market town of Ramsbottom, had been scouted by Manchester United when he was eight years old, but joined City soon after. “The thing I remember was that, even as a nine-year-old, Kieran was an absolutely beautiful striker of the ball,” Cassell says. “I would say he is probably England’s best crosser since David Beckham. He was also a chirpy character, which is what you want to see in kids.” As he grew older, still shining at City, that “chirpiness” threatened to become a problem. At the age of 14 or 15, Garcka says Trippier had developed a “bit of an edge”, and there was concern that he might turn down the wrong path. Pick your England XI to face Panama He was helped by the close mentoring of the school’s former headteacher, Martin Braidley, and by Cassell. “We lived near each other,” Cassell says, “so I used to give him a lift home. I would constantly tell him: ‘Kieran, if you live right you will make it, big-time.’” The message sunk in, and Trippier matured in his final years of school as he continued to hone his natural ability at City. He was part of the City team which won the FA Youth Cup in 2008 and in 2010, aged 19, was loaned to Barnsley for his first experience of adult football. The early impressions were good. Trippier arrived with confidence, which bordered on cockiness, and also with resilience. “He was a young kid at the time but he went straight into the team,” says David Preece, the former Barnsley goalkeeper. “He is one of the best players I have ever seen at crossing the ball on the run — that’s the one thing that really stood out.” Preece, who changed next to Trippier in the dressing room, used to joke that the slender lad alongside him looked like Stewie Griffin, the cartoon baby from comedy series Family Guy, but there were no issues with physical robustness. “He was tough,” Preece says. “He was never a pushover.” England's team leak is embarrassing for all involved Trippier’s excellent performances, including a penchant for scoring free-kicks, earned him a move to Burnley, where the arrival of Sean Dyche added defensive solidity to his more obvious technical talents. Trippier’s gratitude to his former manager was evident in December, when he was spotted at the darts with a sign saying ‘Ginger Mourinho = Sean Dyche’. Trippier’s £3.5 million move to Tottenham Hotspur, in 2015, remains one of the best Premier League bargains in recent years. Under Mauricio Pochettino, and particularly following the departure of Kyle Walker to City last summer, he has become more consistent and more creative. He adapted again, and then adapted to England, where a wing-back role clearly suits his abilities. “Every time he has to step up, he has been able to do it,” Garcka says. “He has done it again and again. Each time he is asked to go up a level, he meets that challenge.” World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Kieran Trippier has always been able to step up when it matters - it's no different with England, says former teacher
Kieran Trippier, or the ‘Bury Beckham’ as he has been christened on social media, has always had a taste for the big occasion, an ability to elevate his level when the pressure is highest. He showed it on Monday night, when he was one of England’s standout performers in their opening World Cup match, and he showed it 11 years ago, in the Bury Schools’ Cup final. Different stages, certainly, but for a teenaged, shaven-headed Trippier, a final against the local school rivals was as important as anything. “He would take those games really seriously,” remembers Lee Garcka, Trippier’s PE teacher at Woodhey High School. “His family were watching, and those were the games when he really shone. He scored a hat-trick, and it was the best hat-trick I have ever seen from any player, at any level.” For his first goal, the 16-year-old Trippier ran from his own half, beating four defenders, and slotted the ball into the corner. The second was a volley from 35 yards, and the third was a curling effort from the edge of the box. At the time, Trippier was progressing through the ranks at Manchester City’s academy and was not even supposed to be playing school football. Garcka would often leave for games thinking that Trippier was training with City but then find him half a mile down the road, having rushed home from City, waiting for the school minibus to pick him up. Trippier with his school PE teacher Lee Garcka, who says he has always had the talent for the big occasions Credit: Lee Garcka Jim Cassell, the former youth academy director at City, was all too aware of a teenage Trippier’s appetite for simply playing as often as he could. “There was a period of time where the boys at the academy were stopped from playing for their school,” Cassell says. “But I knew that Kieran played, and I never bothered [trying to stop him] because he would play anywhere. I would go to watch my son playing 5-a-side, and Kieran would be there.” Trippier, the youngest of four brothers from the market town of Ramsbottom, had been scouted by Manchester United when he was eight years old, but joined City soon after. “The thing I remember was that, even as a nine-year-old, Kieran was an absolutely beautiful striker of the ball,” Cassell says. “I would say he is probably England’s best crosser since David Beckham. He was also a chirpy character, which is what you want to see in kids.” As he grew older, still shining at City, that “chirpiness” threatened to become a problem. At the age of 14 or 15, Garcka says Trippier had developed a “bit of an edge”, and there was concern that he might turn down the wrong path. Pick your England XI to face Panama He was helped by the close mentoring of the school’s former headteacher, Martin Braidley, and by Cassell. “We lived near each other,” Cassell says, “so I used to give him a lift home. I would constantly tell him: ‘Kieran, if you live right you will make it, big-time.’” The message sunk in, and Trippier matured in his final years of school as he continued to hone his natural ability at City. He was part of the City team which won the FA Youth Cup in 2008 and in 2010, aged 19, was loaned to Barnsley for his first experience of adult football. The early impressions were good. Trippier arrived with confidence, which bordered on cockiness, and also with resilience. “He was a young kid at the time but he went straight into the team,” says David Preece, the former Barnsley goalkeeper. “He is one of the best players I have ever seen at crossing the ball on the run — that’s the one thing that really stood out.” Preece, who changed next to Trippier in the dressing room, used to joke that the slender lad alongside him looked like Stewie Griffin, the cartoon baby from comedy series Family Guy, but there were no issues with physical robustness. “He was tough,” Preece says. “He was never a pushover.” England's team leak is embarrassing for all involved Trippier’s excellent performances, including a penchant for scoring free-kicks, earned him a move to Burnley, where the arrival of Sean Dyche added defensive solidity to his more obvious technical talents. Trippier’s gratitude to his former manager was evident in December, when he was spotted at the darts with a sign saying ‘Ginger Mourinho = Sean Dyche’. Trippier’s £3.5 million move to Tottenham Hotspur, in 2015, remains one of the best Premier League bargains in recent years. Under Mauricio Pochettino, and particularly following the departure of Kyle Walker to City last summer, he has become more consistent and more creative. He adapted again, and then adapted to England, where a wing-back role clearly suits his abilities. “Every time he has to step up, he has been able to do it,” Garcka says. “He has done it again and again. Each time he is asked to go up a level, he meets that challenge.” World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Just when it seemed that Iceland were crafting another masterclass in defensive suffocation, despite a Volgograd evening hot enough to remind them of their geothermal springs, Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa struck twice to derail the dream. At a stroke, the complexion of Group D was transformed, while the Icelandic fans’ much-loved thunderclap chant rang out, by the end, with barely a fraction of its customary Viking menace. The repercussions were felt far beyond the confines of this stunning stadium, nestled in the shadow of The Motherland Calls, Russia’s colossal monument to the Battle of Stalingrad. Argentina, such strange underachievers at this World Cup so far, were gifted an unexpected last chance to qualify, while Croatia could be all but assured of starting the next round as winners. For Iceland, alas, described by their own captain Aron Gunnarsson as “everybody’s second favourite team”, the chance of a last-16 place became slender at best. Nigeria, inspired by the irrepressible Ahmed Musa, exploited their second-half lethargy with gusto. It was a revelatory performance by Musa, who claimed a distinction here as Leicester City’s first World Cup goalscorer. The turning point came at half-time, when Nigeria’s players gathered in a huddle on the pitch, while their opponents ran back indoors to cool down. The effect was instant, with Musa exemplifying a new-found purpose and hunger. First he caught Ragnar Sigurdsson dithering, seizing on Victor Moses’ pass to launch a strike beyond Hannes Halldorsson’s reach. For his second, he bolted down the left, turned sharply to befuddle Kari Arnason, and lashed a shot high into the open net. Musa took the ball around goalkeeper Halldorsson before scoring his second Credit: Reuters Two years on from the day that Iceland sealed their improbable advance to the knockout phase of Euro 2016, they wobbled in the face of Nigeria’s energy and endeavour. For all that Nigeria had been numbingly bereft of creativity in their opening match against Croatia, they had lost only through an own goal and a penalty, and last night they recaptured their verve in open play. Moses was switched to his favoured position on the right, where he has usually played for Chelsea, while John Obi Mikel, now chasing one final payday in China, relished his marshalling duties in the centre of midfield. “In the second half it was a different team,” Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s German coach, acknowledged. “We realised that we needed to do much more. They key was to make more counter-attacks.” The vast travelling band from the North Atlantic had dared to expect more. Astonishingly, almost 10 per cent of Iceland’s entire population of 334,000 was crammed inside the Volgograd Arena, with the supporters in royal blue exhorting their team with unrelenting noise. They formed quite a spectacle, touring the sights of Mamayev Kurgan, the city’s memorial complex, and offered some extraordinary accounts of their journeys. Two friends from Reykjavik had travelled all the way to southwest Russia in a battered Lada. “You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters,” Gretar Jonsson, a film student, explained. “So, we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure.” In football, the Icelanders know all about what it means to be intrepid. They eclipsed every expectation two summers ago by beating England, before reaching a first World Cup atop a qualifying group that included Croatia, whom they must beat on Tuesday if they are to have any hope of extending their stay. Their coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, who famously moonlights as a dentist, was not about to sound too pessimistic at the prospect. Sigurdsson blazes over from the penalty spot Credit: Getty images “It was just not our day, in so many ways,” he reflected after this defeat. “But we didn’t think we would go through this World Cup without a loss. Now, we only need to beat Croatia, and while that is easier said than done, we have beaten them once before in Iceland, and we finished ahead of them in our group. We have played each other four times in four years. We always say that we are like a married couple ‒ we try to break up but we always get back together again.” Hallgrimsson expects a bruising battle against the Croatians, likely to rest a couple of their stars, since Iceland have picked up a red card in three of the past four contests. One accusation that can never be levelled at his side is a lack of appetite for the fight. Although visibly wilting in these temperatures, they never stopped pressing forward even when 2-0 down, earning a late penalty thanks to a VAR replay that resolved a foul by Tyronne Ebuehi on Alfred Finnbogason in the area. But Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson could not grasp the moment, with his spot-kick sailing high into the stands. While crestfallen, Iceland’s loyal disciples did not despair, sustaining their signature chant long into the night. There was, they recognised, still a mathematical chance of a reprieve. That was a truth not lost on Argentinian fans, either, however much Nigeria plan to spoil the party. Who will join Luka Modric in the second round: Musa, Messi or, just possibly, Hordur Magnusson? It promises to be a thrill finding out. 6:39PM What next These two teams don't play again until Tuesday, when Iceland face likely group winners Croatia and Nigeria play Argentina. The games happen simultaneously so that nobody has an advantage in knowing the other result before they play. It's all to play for. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Neymar and Coutinho leave it late for Brazil against Costa Rica Sam Wallace: Advantage Ronaldo in battle with Messi Holland apologises for accidentally leaking England team Serbia vs Switzerland (7pm kick-off) Ahmed Musa scored a brilliant second-half double to fire Nigeria to a 2-0 victory over Iceland and throw the second qualification spot in Group D wide open with one game remaining. The Leicester City forward banished memories of a dreadful first half to put the Nigerians ahead four minutes after the interval when he expertly controlled a rapid Victor Moses break and rifled into the top corner past Hannes Halldorsson. The Iceland goalkeeper was left flat on his backside for Musa's excellent second 15 minutes later, when the Nigerian jinked around one defender, dummied past Halldorsson and then drove out of reach of two Iceland players standing on the line. Credit: AFP Iceland had a prime opportunity to pull a goal back with 10 minutes remaining when VAR correctly overturned the referee's initial decision and ruled William Troost-Ekong had fouled Bjorn Sigurdarson inside the box. Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson confidently stepped up to take the penalty, but blazed his effort over the crossbar. The victory moves Nigeria up to second in the Group D table on three points behind Croatia (six points), with Iceland and Argentina on one point apiece. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Ahmed Musa double hands Argentina boost with Nigeria victory over Iceland
Neymar and Coutinho leave it late for Brazil against Costa Rica Sam Wallace: Advantage Ronaldo in battle with Messi Holland apologises for accidentally leaking England team Serbia vs Switzerland (7pm kick-off) Ahmed Musa scored a brilliant second-half double to fire Nigeria to a 2-0 victory over Iceland and throw the second qualification spot in Group D wide open with one game remaining. The Leicester City forward banished memories of a dreadful first half to put the Nigerians ahead four minutes after the interval when he expertly controlled a rapid Victor Moses break and rifled into the top corner past Hannes Halldorsson. The Iceland goalkeeper was left flat on his backside for Musa's excellent second 15 minutes later, when the Nigerian jinked around one defender, dummied past Halldorsson and then drove out of reach of two Iceland players standing on the line. Credit: AFP Iceland had a prime opportunity to pull a goal back with 10 minutes remaining when VAR correctly overturned the referee's initial decision and ruled William Troost-Ekong had fouled Bjorn Sigurdarson inside the box. Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson confidently stepped up to take the penalty, but blazed his effort over the crossbar. The victory moves Nigeria up to second in the Group D table on three points behind Croatia (six points), with Iceland and Argentina on one point apiece. 6:13PM Something happens to Iceland at half time... First half shots: 13 Second half shots: 4 First half shots conceded: 11 Second half shots conceded: 32 6:01PM A game of two halves All 16 of Nigeria's shots came in the second half. What a team talk it must have been. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 5:56PM Full time - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 That's it. What a result for Nigeria and Group D has been blown wide open. With a game to go, this is how it looks: That means Croatia have basically won the group. Nigeria, Iceland and lucky, lucky Argentina can all still make the next round. 5:54PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Mikel is in a bit of trouble here. He goes down holding his wrist and grimacing and ends up needing a bit of treatment. Dr Martin Keown's diagnosis is thus: "I thought he had cramp but it looks like he's broken something." Mikel comes straight back on. 5:52PM 90 mins +4 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iceland really could have got something from this game. Another good move breaks down here after a poor cross from Saervarsson. 5:51PM 90 mins +3 - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Iwobi gets his first touch of the ball as Nigeria look to wind down the clock with a bit of possession. 5:48PM 90 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Time is running out and surely Nigeria have this one in the bag, but they are not a team to try and see the game out. Ndidi comes hurling forwards from deep and tries another shot from distance, this time it's blocked. Alex Iwobi will come on for Etebo for stoppage time, of which there will be 6 minutes. 5:46PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another good chance for Iceland, this time for Finnbogason on his left, and he just lets the angle get too narrow, so it's an easy enough save for Uzoho in the end. 5:45PM 87 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Another Iceland sub: Skulason is on for Gunnarsson. 5:43PM 84 mins - Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 Nigeria have the wind up them and are going after more goals. Musa comes forward and has teammates both ways. He thinks better of shooting and feeds Iheanacho, but he shoots just wide from the edge of the box. A sub for Nigeria, as Ighalo replaces Iheanacho. 5:41PM PENALTY MISSED! Short run up, Sigurdsson goes for the top corner but he just leans back too far and sends the penalty over the bar! 5:40PM VAR REVIEW - PENALTY TO ICELAND Nigeria enjoy a spell of possession, but Iceland nick it and break. It's a good move and ends with Sigudarson going down under Ekong's challenge. The referee waves it away but after being instructed to take a look at the TV replays he gives it! A lifeline for Iceland! 5:34PM GOOOOOOOALLL! Nigeria 2 Iceland 0 (Musa) Musa doesn't have to wait long for his second! Omeruo clips a straight ball down the line over the top for Musa to chase. He has the legs on Arnason and all of a sudden he is away. As he bears down on goal he he jinks back onto his right, dummies a shot and that takes him around the keeper! He fires past a defender on the line and Nigeria are two-up! Nigeria 2 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 75 min) 5:33PM 74 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Soooo close to a second for Nigeria. Musa receives the ball on the edge of the box, and cracks one off the bar! Haldorsson is completely fooled by the curl, but it bounces away to safety. 5:31PM 72 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iheanacho gets a corner right for the first time in the game and Balogun towers above the Iceland defenders to head at goal but he can't quite keep it down. It only just misses the crossbar. Miss: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Leon Balogun, 72 min) 5:29PM 70 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Another sub for Iceland: Sigudarson is on for Bodvarsson. 5:26PM 68 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Gislason controls well in front of the Nigeria defence, and turns towards goal. He cuts onto his right foot and shoots... but it flies over the bar. That's Iceland's first shot of the second half. 5:24PM 66 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Moses drops his shoulder, jinks down the line and drills a decent effort at goal, but it flies over. The Iceland response has lost momentum... for now. 5:23PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Ragnar Sigurdsson is not in fact okay after that head knock. Sverrir Ingason replaces him. Again, concussion problems in football. Sigurdsson comes back onto the pitch with a head injury only to go off later. Fully understand why he wants to carry on, but safety is being put at risk. We have to find a solution.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 22, 2018 5:21PM 64 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 It is lofted into the box, but it's far too close to Uzoho, who claims with ease. 5:21PM 63 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rash challenge from Ndidi concedes a free-kick in a decent position for Iceland. 30 yards from goal, right of centre. Should be a cross rather than a shot. 5:18PM 60 mins -Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Nigeria 1 Iceland 0 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
5:18PM 60 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Nigeria vs Iceland, World Cup 2018: live score and latest updates
5:18PM 60 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 Iceland corner. Sigurdsson jogs over to take it. The big men trot up from the back. It's a great ball in, and for a split second it looks like it might fall kindly for a blue shirt but Moses manages to hack clear. 5:16PM 58 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 A rocket of a shot from distance from Ndidi takes a nick off the defender and needs Halldorsson to take evasive action and tip over the bar. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Wilfred Ndidi, 57 min) 5:14PM 56 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 Iceland have already rescued a result after going behind once in this World Cup and they have responded really well here. Gylfi Sigurdsson tries to bundle his way into the box, and calls for a handball when it bounce up at Ebuehi, but the referee waves play on. 5:13PM 53 mins - Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 A problem for Iceland here: Ragnar Sigurdsson was caught by Musa's trailing leg as he dived in to block, and there is blood pouring from the back of his head. But after a lot of treatment, he gets strapped up and is okay to continue after a change of bloody shirt. 5:08PM GOOOOOOAAALLLL! Iceland 0 Nigeria 1 (Musa) The throw in is cleared with a monster header from Omeruo, and in the blink of an eye, Nigeria race up the other end with Moses on the right. He dinks in to the near post where Musa is there to control with one touch and rifle high into the net to put Nigeria ahead with only their second shot of the game. Unbelievable! Nigeria 1 - 0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa, 49 min) 5:07PM 48 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason drops deep to pick up the ball, and he lofts it into the box. Nigeria have a chance to clear but don't take it, and Omeruo can only boot out for a throw in. Gunnarsson lines it up... 5:05PM 46 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria have their first shot just a few seconds into the second half. Etebo drilling low at goal, but Halldorsson saves pretty easily. 5:04PM Second half A change for Nigeria: Ebuehi replaces Idowu, who was booked at the end of the first half. No change in system. Iceland get the half started. 5:03PM Legends in attendance Former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu is at the ground today. And that's Iceland's Birkir Kristinsson on the right. Kanue and Kristinsson chat Credit: getty images 4:48PM Half time It's goalless at the break but Iceland have had by far the best of that 45 minutes. Nigeria have had more of the ball and have probably been better than they were against Croatia, but they will need to improve massively if they are to win here. A big second half to come. Possession: Nigeria vs Iceland Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:47PM 45 mins +1 - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another cross causes problems for Nigeria and the feintest of touches takes it away from Bodvarsson. Ragnar Sigurdsson heads wide from the corner. 4:46PM 45 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson whips the free-kick in from the right, perfectly into the corridor of uncertainty (I love that phrase) . Finnbogason attacks it but almost goes with his hip (yeah, really), and just doesn't get anything like enough on it. Two minutes added on. 4:44PM 44 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Idowu is the first player in the referee's notebook, after he fouls Saevarsson. 4:44PM 43 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho this time overhits a corner. It is easy to blame the fact that he is a centre-forward taking corners - as with Harry Kane at the Euros - but it does seem like someone else should be taking them. He hasn't put a good ball in yet. 4:42PM 41 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland look by a distance the more likely to score. Another long ball causes problems, with Bodvarsson nodding back to Gislason, who rides a challenge and drills low into the box, but it's just behind Finnbogason. 4:38PM 38 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses gives chase under a long ball which he knows he is never going to reach. He gets the slightest of nudges from Magnusson and goes down, winning a free-kick in a very good position. Iheanacho doesn't beat the first man and Iceland clear. 4:36PM 36 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Whipped ball into the Nigeria box from very deep on the right by Saevarsson causes all kinds of concern. Balogun gets the tiniest of glances on it to take it off the forehead of Bodvarsson who is arriving at the back post. 4:34PM 34 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 After a good start this game has quietened down an awful lot. It's very warm in Volgograd and seems like it is having an effect. Gislason volleys at goal from Bodvarsson's flick. It flies way over the bar. 4:31PM 31 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria win a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and they decide to send the big men forward for this one. Etebo over-hits it, though, and it sails out for a goal-kick. 4:30PM 30 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Nigeria vs Iceland Just the two touches in the opposition box for each team so far. Very little threat on either goal. 4:28PM 28 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 John Obi Mikel, so ineffective against Croatia, is playing in the deeper position we in England know him for. Pushing Etobo further forward hasn't really changed things, though. Nigeria are still distinctly lacking creativity. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:25PM 25 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iceland do what Nigeria have so far opted against by launching a free kick on halfway into the box. But the Super Eagles stand firm and clear. Again. Another high ball into the box, another Nigeria clearance Credit: AFP 4:21PM 22 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 One quick turn from Sigurdsson on the edge of his own box and he turns defence into an Iceland attack. They go down the right and earn another throw-in in an advanced position, which is basically like a corner for them. The ball is push up but not quite away by Uzoho, and Gislason rockets a volley at goal. Moses blocks but he's in some pain. That's right in the gonads. Ouch. 4:19PM 19 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Moses comes off the flank well to nip in and poke away from left-back Magnusson, and it looks like it might open up, only for Moses's final ball to let him down, wrongfooting Musa, and Iceland clear. 4:17PM 16 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Best moment of the game for Nigeria as Iheanacho does well down the right, cuts back and delivers into the box. Ragnar Sigurdsson and Arnason combine to scramble it clear but Nigeria look buoyed. 4:14PM 14 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 And soon after Gunnarsson is called into action. He launches a monster throw into the box, but again Nigeria deal with it well. 4:13PM 12 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gunnarsson takes an elbow to the rib in a challenge with Iheanacho and he needs a minute's rest. A slight worry for Iceland that their throw-ins may be hindered, but he's okay to continue. 4:10PM 10 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 At the 10 minute mark, Iceland have had the better of this one. Nigeria vs Iceland shots on goal 4:07PM 7 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Iheanacho is on Nigeria corners. Not a bad delivery but Iceland clear. 4:06PM 6 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Another chance for Sigurdsson, as it opens up for him on the edge of the Nigeria box. He curls an effort at goal but it's really, really tame. Easily saved by Uzoho. That's a waste. Attempt Saved: Nigeria 0 - 0 Iceland (Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 min) 4:05PM 5 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Gislason takes on Balogun around the outside on the left wing, and goes down claiming a nudge. The ref isn't interested. 4:03PM 3 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
4:03PM 3 mins Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Nigeria vs Iceland, World Cup 2018: live score and latest updates
4:03PM 3 mins Sigurdsson (of the Gylfi variety), fires at goal. There's not a great deal of pace behind it and Uzoho should catch it, but he decides to parry over the bar. He does catch the resulting corner well, though. 4:02PM 2 mins - Nigeria 0 Iceland 0 Early throw in for Iceland and Gunnarsson jogs across to launch it into the box. It's cleared, and under a high ball on the edge of the box Arnason claims a push - and almost catches the ball! The ref agrees with him though, and it's an Iceland free kick 30 yards from goal. 4:00PM Kick off Nigeria get us under way. Game on. 3:59PM A message from the referee At the toss, it's possible to hear the Kiwi referee instruct both captains: "Fair play, and watch the holding." 3:58PM Anthem time A (very) significant portion of Iceland's 338,000 people are inside the stadium in Volgograd, and they are making a decent din. 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Nigeria vs Iceland, World Cup 2018 Group D clash, kicks off at 4pm on BBC 1 You are the VAR: Think you can do better than the World Cup referees? Test yourself here Get Telegraph Football WhatsApp for in-match analysis and talking points throughout the World Cup Betting guide: predictions and tips for Nigeria v Iceland > 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Nigeria vs Iceland, World Cup 2018: live score and latest updates
Nigeria vs Iceland, World Cup 2018 Group D clash, kicks off at 4pm on BBC 1 You are the VAR: Think you can do better than the World Cup referees? Test yourself here Get Telegraph Football WhatsApp for in-match analysis and talking points throughout the World Cup Betting guide: predictions and tips for Nigeria v Iceland > 3:52PM Permutations If Iceland win, they will be one point away from the second round and Nigeria will be out. Argentina will be very, very close to elimination. Draw and all three teams mentioned about will remain within one point of each other, with everything to play for in the final game. If Nigeria win they will jump above Iceland into second place in Group D. All three will still be in with a chance of qualifying for the second round. 3:48PM Huh? Iceland fans inside the stadium Credit: Getty images 3:35PM The kit we've all been waiting to see Nigeria will play in this jazzy number tonight, and everyone loves it. Credit: getty images Almost everyone, I should say. Here's Thom Gibbs ranking the World Cup kits. Let's just say he's not a fan. World Cup kits ranked 3:23PM DROPPED Arsenal man Alex Iwobi had a quiet game in Nigeria's opener against Croatia and hasn't made the starting lineup today. I'm sure we'll see something of him later, though. No Alex Iwobi today Credit: Getty images 3:11PM Some pre-match VAR fun test - do not delete 3:04PM Ch, ch, ch, chaaaanges Iceland Gone from 4-4-1-1 to two up front, with striker Bodvarsson coming in for centre-mid Hallfredsson Gislason also replaces Burnley's Joey Gudmundsson on the right side of midfield. Team in full (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson Nigeria Omeruo comes in for Shehu at right-back, Ahmed Musa replaces Alex Iwobi, and Iheanacho in comes in for Ighalo up front. Team in full (3-5-2): Uzoho; Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun; Moses, Ndidi, Mikel, Etebo, Moses; Musa, Iheanacho 2:54PM The teams are in �� This is how we start the game against Nigeria.#fyririslandpic.twitter.com/pDAn99SxMF— Knattspyrnusambandið (@footballiceland) June 22, 2018 .@NGSuperEagles XI vs #Iceland#SoarSuperEagles#NGA#WorldCup#NGAISLpic.twitter.com/zFRfmXH5TL— ���� Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 22, 2018 2:46PM Pre-match predictions Have a go on our forecaster to see who will come out on top today after you've given extra weight to the factors you consider most important. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game I've gone for 1-0 to Iceland in the office World Cup predictions game. It's probably also worth me pointing out that I haven't got a single correct score right so far in the entire competition. So, put all your money on a Nigeria win*. [*Don't actually do this.] 2:31PM What an opportunity Group D was very early on dubbed the 2018 World Cup's 'Group of Death', but who could have predicted it would be Argentina whose hopes would be all-but killed off at this early stage? A 1-1 draw with Iceland last Saturday was followed by defeat to Croatia last night to leave the group looking mightily open at the halfway stage: And so, Iceland versus Nigeria now takes on a whole lot more significance than we would have expected. The Scandanvians, so impressive in beating England at Euro 2016 and taking a point off Argentina, can almost subject Lionel Messi and co. to elimination if they win today. Three points against Nigeria would leave them needing only a point against Croatia next week to progress. And these two teams' performances in their first game give every reason to believe that an Iceland win is the most likely result. I was really impressed by them against Argentina. Not only their endeavour, work rate, aggression and togetherness, but going forward they showed real quality and composure in the final third. Nigeria, on the other hand, are just so clearly lacking in creativity that I am struggling to see how they will break Iceland down. Against England in their World Cup warm-up friendly, they looked lost for most of the game, and they never really got going against Croatia, either. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi play out wide, but both need a ball-playing midfielder to find them in space for them to work their magic at club level. They simply aren't creative enough on their own. Then there's the fact that John Obi Mikel is still their No 10. Something is not right.
Sainsbury's chief executive has admitted that the UK's competition watchdog will probably demand store disposals in order for the supermarket's merger with Asda to be approved, as he was grilled by a committee of MPs on the details of the deal. Mike Coupe told the environment, food and rural affairs committee that there were "less than 100 but probably more than 50" towns and cities in the country with just a Sainsbury's and Asda. When asked if he accepted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) might demand stores are sold off to rivals to allay fears that the £15bn merger would lead to less choice for consumers, Mr Coupe replied "I think it is likely". Mr Coupe has always maintained that no stores would be shuttered as a result of a deal between two of the UK's biggest supermarkets. However, he told MPs he could not speculate on "what the CMA may or may not do". He made the comments during a three-hour long committee meeting in which he and Asda boss Roger Burnley were questioned by MPs and criticised for not being honest about the terms of the deal and accused of spinning "nursery rhymes and Micky Mouse tales" by committee chairman and conservative MP Neil Parish. When they avoided questions relating to their respective business models, buying practices and the prices they pay producers, Mr Parish said: "I’m sorry to laugh but this morning we’ve had this nursery rhyme that you don’t know how the Asda system works, and they don't know how your system works. Where do Asda and Sainsbury's overlap most? "Well, you are getting into bed together and are going to make all these savings and you don’t know how the other works. This is a massive deal across the City and huge sums are involved and you don't know this. I'm sorry, it's just not believable." Mr Parish questioned both bosses on how the merged company would achieve the 10pc price reduction on grocery products it had promised, without hurting farmers and primary producers. Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's He said: "We are being told a story this morning that suits you and Sainbsury's but it is not true what we are getting. We know that in the end it’ll be the suppliers and processors that will pay your 10pc and I am absolutely convinced by this. You cannot make 10pc savings in the market without somebody paying for it. This is absolutely bizarre. "You have given us Mickey Mouse figures. Please give us reality." Mr Burnley said a merger would "open up markets" to small producers, rather than to squeeze them, but wouldn't clarify where the price cuts would come from. "This is about customers demanding value and lower prices," he said. Sainsbury's-Asda merger in numbers When asked the same question, Mr Coupe suggested the supermarket would pay for price cuts on things like milk and cheese by securing better purchase prices from big international brands. He said: "The deal is predicated on a very simple idea that if we are buying Weetabix at one price and Asda at a different one, whichever is the lower price is what we would expect to achieve as a combined entity."
CMA 'likely' to demand store disposals, Sainsbury's boss tells MPs
Sainsbury's chief executive has admitted that the UK's competition watchdog will probably demand store disposals in order for the supermarket's merger with Asda to be approved, as he was grilled by a committee of MPs on the details of the deal. Mike Coupe told the environment, food and rural affairs committee that there were "less than 100 but probably more than 50" towns and cities in the country with just a Sainsbury's and Asda. When asked if he accepted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) might demand stores are sold off to rivals to allay fears that the £15bn merger would lead to less choice for consumers, Mr Coupe replied "I think it is likely". Mr Coupe has always maintained that no stores would be shuttered as a result of a deal between two of the UK's biggest supermarkets. However, he told MPs he could not speculate on "what the CMA may or may not do". He made the comments during a three-hour long committee meeting in which he and Asda boss Roger Burnley were questioned by MPs and criticised for not being honest about the terms of the deal and accused of spinning "nursery rhymes and Micky Mouse tales" by committee chairman and conservative MP Neil Parish. When they avoided questions relating to their respective business models, buying practices and the prices they pay producers, Mr Parish said: "I’m sorry to laugh but this morning we’ve had this nursery rhyme that you don’t know how the Asda system works, and they don't know how your system works. Where do Asda and Sainsbury's overlap most? "Well, you are getting into bed together and are going to make all these savings and you don’t know how the other works. This is a massive deal across the City and huge sums are involved and you don't know this. I'm sorry, it's just not believable." Mr Parish questioned both bosses on how the merged company would achieve the 10pc price reduction on grocery products it had promised, without hurting farmers and primary producers. Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's He said: "We are being told a story this morning that suits you and Sainbsury's but it is not true what we are getting. We know that in the end it’ll be the suppliers and processors that will pay your 10pc and I am absolutely convinced by this. You cannot make 10pc savings in the market without somebody paying for it. This is absolutely bizarre. "You have given us Mickey Mouse figures. Please give us reality." Mr Burnley said a merger would "open up markets" to small producers, rather than to squeeze them, but wouldn't clarify where the price cuts would come from. "This is about customers demanding value and lower prices," he said. Sainsbury's-Asda merger in numbers When asked the same question, Mr Coupe suggested the supermarket would pay for price cuts on things like milk and cheese by securing better purchase prices from big international brands. He said: "The deal is predicated on a very simple idea that if we are buying Weetabix at one price and Asda at a different one, whichever is the lower price is what we would expect to achieve as a combined entity."
Sainsbury's chief executive has admitted that the UK's competition watchdog will probably demand store disposals in order for the supermarket's merger with Asda to be approved, as he was grilled by a committee of MPs on the details of the deal. Mike Coupe told the environment, food and rural affairs committee that there were "less than 100 but probably more than 50" towns and cities in the country with just a Sainsbury's and Asda. When asked if he accepted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) might demand stores are sold off to rivals to allay fears that the £15bn merger would lead to less choice for consumers, Mr Coupe replied "I think it is likely". Mr Coupe has always maintained that no stores would be shuttered as a result of a deal between two of the UK's biggest supermarkets. However, he told MPs he could not speculate on "what the CMA may or may not do". He made the comments during a three-hour long committee meeting in which he and Asda boss Roger Burnley were questioned by MPs and criticised for not being honest about the terms of the deal and accused of spinning "nursery rhymes and Micky Mouse tales" by committee chairman and conservative MP Neil Parish. When they avoided questions relating to their respective business models, buying practices and the prices they pay producers, Mr Parish said: "I’m sorry to laugh but this morning we’ve had this nursery rhyme that you don’t know how the Asda system works, and they don't know how your system works. Where do Asda and Sainsbury's overlap most? "Well, you are getting into bed together and are going to make all these savings and you don’t know how the other works. This is a massive deal across the City and huge sums are involved and you don't know this. I'm sorry, it's just not believable." Mr Parish questioned both bosses on how the merged company would achieve the 10pc price reduction on grocery products it had promised, without hurting farmers and primary producers. Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's He said: "We are being told a story this morning that suits you and Sainbsury's but it is not true what we are getting. We know that in the end it’ll be the suppliers and processors that will pay your 10pc and I am absolutely convinced by this. You cannot make 10pc savings in the market without somebody paying for it. This is absolutely bizarre. "You have given us Mickey Mouse figures. Please give us reality." Mr Burnley said a merger would "open up markets" to small producers, rather than to squeeze them, but wouldn't clarify where the price cuts would come from. "This is about customers demanding value and lower prices," he said. Sainsbury's-Asda merger in numbers When asked the same question, Mr Coupe suggested the supermarket would pay for price cuts on things like milk and cheese by securing better purchase prices from big international brands. He said: "The deal is predicated on a very simple idea that if we are buying Weetabix at one price and Asda at a different one, whichever is the lower price is what we would expect to achieve as a combined entity."
CMA 'likely' to demand store disposals, Sainsbury's boss tells MPs
Sainsbury's chief executive has admitted that the UK's competition watchdog will probably demand store disposals in order for the supermarket's merger with Asda to be approved, as he was grilled by a committee of MPs on the details of the deal. Mike Coupe told the environment, food and rural affairs committee that there were "less than 100 but probably more than 50" towns and cities in the country with just a Sainsbury's and Asda. When asked if he accepted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) might demand stores are sold off to rivals to allay fears that the £15bn merger would lead to less choice for consumers, Mr Coupe replied "I think it is likely". Mr Coupe has always maintained that no stores would be shuttered as a result of a deal between two of the UK's biggest supermarkets. However, he told MPs he could not speculate on "what the CMA may or may not do". He made the comments during a three-hour long committee meeting in which he and Asda boss Roger Burnley were questioned by MPs and criticised for not being honest about the terms of the deal and accused of spinning "nursery rhymes and Micky Mouse tales" by committee chairman and conservative MP Neil Parish. When they avoided questions relating to their respective business models, buying practices and the prices they pay producers, Mr Parish said: "I’m sorry to laugh but this morning we’ve had this nursery rhyme that you don’t know how the Asda system works, and they don't know how your system works. Where do Asda and Sainsbury's overlap most? "Well, you are getting into bed together and are going to make all these savings and you don’t know how the other works. This is a massive deal across the City and huge sums are involved and you don't know this. I'm sorry, it's just not believable." Mr Parish questioned both bosses on how the merged company would achieve the 10pc price reduction on grocery products it had promised, without hurting farmers and primary producers. Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's He said: "We are being told a story this morning that suits you and Sainbsury's but it is not true what we are getting. We know that in the end it’ll be the suppliers and processors that will pay your 10pc and I am absolutely convinced by this. You cannot make 10pc savings in the market without somebody paying for it. This is absolutely bizarre. "You have given us Mickey Mouse figures. Please give us reality." Mr Burnley said a merger would "open up markets" to small producers, rather than to squeeze them, but wouldn't clarify where the price cuts would come from. "This is about customers demanding value and lower prices," he said. Sainsbury's-Asda merger in numbers When asked the same question, Mr Coupe suggested the supermarket would pay for price cuts on things like milk and cheese by securing better purchase prices from big international brands. He said: "The deal is predicated on a very simple idea that if we are buying Weetabix at one price and Asda at a different one, whichever is the lower price is what we would expect to achieve as a combined entity."
FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Liverpool - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - January 1, 2018 General view of a corner flag before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Premier League - Burnley vs Liverpool
FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Liverpool - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - January 1, 2018 General view of a corner flag before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen will host Burnley in the club's first European trip for over 50 years.
No passports required - Burnley's 51-year wait for European tie sees Clarets draw... Aberdeen
Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen will host Burnley in the club's first European trip for over 50 years.
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Fixtures, squad news, next matches and group analysis
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Fixtures, squad news, next matches and group analysis
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Fixtures, squad news, next matches and group analysis
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England's 2018 squad will play Panama on Sunday off the back of a strong win in their first World Cup game against Tunisia. When Gareth Southgate revealed his 23-man squad in May much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 - Tunisia 1 England 2 Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.