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World Cup Group D preview: Key stats, info and odds

Argentina favourites to finish first

There’s not long to go now until the World Cup gets underway in Russia.

Group D is next up for the Coral News Team, who have all the key info ahead of the tournament…

Argentina

Manager: Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile team were one of the most exciting sides to watch in Brazil four years ago. He was brought in with four qualifiers to go to ensure Argentina made it to Russia.

Best World Cup result: Winners (1978 and 1986)

How they play: Sampaoli doesn’t have the players at his disposal to implement his preferred high-tempo pressing game. He does have Lionel Messi though. La Albiceleste’s play will revolve around the Barcelona star.

One to watch: Giovani Lo Celso. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder had an impressive season and will help to provide some much-needed balance in central areas.

Things to consider: Sampaoli is spoilt for choice in attack, but there are real concerns in defensive areas. Sergio Romero’s injury means Willy Caballero is set to start in goal. The 36-year-old only made his international debut last year. There’s a lack of pace in defensive areas too.

Odds to qualify from group: 8/13

Odds to win the tournament: 9/1

Iceland

Manager: Heimir Hallgrimsson

Best World Cup result: This will be their first appearance at football’s biggest event.

How they play: Iceland are well-drilled and perfectly happy to sit deep and frustrate opponents. Set-pieces are their biggest attacking weapon. This approach served them very well in Euro 2016 and they’ll be hard to beat again in Russia.

One to watch: Arnor Ingvi Traustason is one of Iceland’s most exciting players. The Malmo midfielder scored a crucial goal at the Euros and will be eager to impress again here.

Things to consider: Iceland could find it hard to get back into games if they go a goal down. Gylfi Sigurdsson hasn’t played a competitive game since March and they’ll struggle to create chances if he’s not fully fit.

Odds to qualify from group: 14/5

Odds to win the tournament: 125/1

Croatia

Manager: Zlatko Dalic

Best World Cup result: Third place (1998)

How they play: The Croatia squad is blessed with the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic. Naturally, they try to play an intricate passing game. Mario Mandzukic provides a real presence up front too.

One to watch: Everyone knows about Modric and Rakitic, but this could be Brozovic’s chance to really announce himself on the world stage. The Inter Milan midfielder is immaculate on the ball and he’s got a very impressive engine.

Things to consider: Dalic was only appointed ahead of the play-offs and hasn’t had much time to work with the team. The defence isn’t particularly convincing either.

Odds to qualify from group: 8/15

Odds to win the tournament: 33/1

Nigeria

Manager: Gernot Rohr

Best World Cup result: Last 16 (1994,1998, 2014)

How they play: The Super Eagles are set up to break at speed. Wilfred Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi provide a solid platform in midfield, allowing John Obi Mikel to set the tempo. Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses add creativity and pace on their respective flanks, while Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho offer two decent options up front.

One to watch: Alex Iwobi had a frustrating season with Arsenal, but his ability to work in tight spaces and move the ball quickly could be very useful in Russia.

Things to consider: Nigeria have an exciting team with lots of potential. However, there are question marks over the goalkeepers. Neither Ikechukwu Ezenwa or Francis Uzoho inspires much confidence.

Odds to qualify from group: 5/2

Odds to win the tournament: 200/1

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing