Group D looks likely to be one of the most fiercely-contested groups at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. It pits historic giants Argentina against two blossoming European sides in Croatia and Iceland, plus the ever-unpredictable Nigeria, who are sure to be a tough nut to crack.
Argentina-Croatia, (21 June 2018, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium)
The group's two strongest teams on paper will lock horns at a World Cup for the first time since 1998, when Argentina edged to a 1-0 win. The showdown between Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic is one of the many intriguing subplots to what will be just the second meeting between the two nations on the global stage, one which could prove pivotal in deciding who qualifies and claims top spot. With France potentially lurking in the Round of 16 for the group runners-up, there will be plenty on the line.
What you need to know
- Iceland and Croatia have met on six occasions in World Cup qualifying in the last eight years. The Croatians have the better of the head-to-head, with four wins from those games, but the Icelanders have the fonder memories of the most recent encounter, which they won 1-0 in June 2017.
- Nigeria and Iceland have only faced one another once before, with the Europeans easing to a 3-0 victory in a friendly in 1981.
- History will be made in two Group D fixtures: Argentina have never taken on Iceland before, while Croatia and Nigeria will also do battle for the first time.
4 - The number of times that Argentina and Nigeria have met in World Cup group action. La Albiceleste have triumphed in all four matches: 2-1 in 1994, 1-0 in 2002, 1-0 in 2010 and 3-2 in 2014.