Iceland vs Croatia by Isaiah
Iceland didn't look that well in previous World Cup qualifiers game played, as the team only managed to get a narrow victory away from home against Kosovo with a 2:1 result. Still, they have showed themsleves as way more mature side and took the double lead inside the first halftime thanks to goals from Sigurdarson in 25th and Sigurdsson in 35th minute from a penalty kick.
Hosts replied early in the second halftime, in 52nd minute with a goal from Nuhiu, remaining with bit more chances and ball possession in the second halftime however without further change. It was third victory for Iceland in the group, as the side now stands at second position with three points more than Croatia and this match probably comes as one of last chances for them to get back into the race for the first position with realistic chances. Iceland also had a friendly game after the match against Kosovo, winning on the road against Ireland with narrow 1:0 result.
Home team won't be able to count at defensive Hallgrimur Jonasson (16/3, Lyngby), midfielders Arnor Smarason (22/2, Hammarby), Theodor Elmar Bjarnason (36/0, AGF), forwards Vidar Orn Kjartansson (14/1, Maccabi Tel Aviv) and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (44/22, Galarasaray).
Apart from their starting draw against Turkey at home, there's not much the Croats can complain about their qualifying path since the team has recorded four victories from then on and stands out as the first placed side now with three points more than Iceland and five more than their followers from Ukraine and Turkey.
That means that they could get satisfied even with a point here in case the match becomes more difficult than expected. They won narrowly over Ukraine at home in the last qualifying game in March 1:0 (only goal scored via Kalinic in 38th minute), while the Croats have also played two friendlies since then - losing out to Estonia away few days after game against Ukraine and winning away from home against Mexico 1:2 in Los Angeles week and a half ago.
In comparison to previous few call-ups, Croats won't be counting at goalkeeper Danijel Subasic (29/0, Monaco), defenders Vedran Corluka (95/4, Lokomotiv Moscow), Sime Vrsaljko (26/0, Atletico Madrid), Ivan Strinic (39/0, Napoli), midfielders Ivan Rakitic (83/13, Barcelona), forwards Andrej Kramaric (21/5, Hoffenheim) and Marko Pjaca (13/1, Juventus), mostly due injuries.
This is actually huge game for both teams as they try to get the first position and direct placement into the World Cup competition next year. Iceland should be looking for a victory here, while the Croats might get satisfied with a point. However, with the home team in need to attack here, I see the game definitely being an open one and the value remains with three goals or more.