The African nation kick-started their World Cup bid – and it’s Argentina next for the Super Eagles.
Ahmed Musa was restored to Nigeria’s starting XI with devastating effect as he scored both goals to help them resuscitate their World Cup hopes.
Left out of his country’s opening Group D game at the tournament in Russia, Musa showed his worth with two outstanding strikes that put the Africans back in contention for a second round place.
The opening goal, soon after a drab first half, saw him pluck the ball out of the air with his first touch before blasting it home.
The second goal came in the 75th minute, when after a break down the wing, Musa cut inside and waltzed around the goalkeeper before firing the ball into the net.
Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson shot an 82nd minute penalty over the top of the bar, denying his team a chance to try to force a late comeback.
All three other teams in the group remain in the hunt to go through with Croatia, but Argentina and Iceland know they have to win to have any chance of progressing.
Musa added a second to ensure victory (Image: REUTERS) Musa celebrates as Nigeria triumph (Image: REX/Shutterstock) 18:01
Well that result has blown this group wide open! Croatia have confirmed qualification, but each of the other three nations can still make it to the knockout stages. Musa hit an outstanding double, rifling home after Moses’ pacey counter-attack, before cutting inside from the left and rounding the goalkeeper for the second. Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a late penalty – awarded courtesy of VAR – as Iceland desperately searched for a way back into the game, but they just couldn’t muster enough going forward. It finishes 2-0 to Nigeria!
17:56 90+7 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
FULL-TIME: NIGERIA 2-0 ICELAND
18:00 90+6 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
BLOCK! Ighalo wins a long ball and holds it up against Ingason, before laying off to Iwobi, whose shot is blocked away from the edge of the area!
17:55 90+5 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Mikel is back on, albeit still clutching his injured wrist. Just one minute to go.
17:54 90+4 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Mikel is down holding his wrist, and it doesn’t look good for him. Nigeria have used all three substitutions, however, so he’ll either have to continue or his side will have to play the remaining two minutes with 10 men.
17:53 90+3 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
A flowing Iceland attack results in Saevarsson placing a low cross into the middle, but it’s scrambled away by the Nigerian defence.
17:51 89 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Nigeria look confident and composed now, while Iceland look frustrated. They just can’t seem to create any real openings to haul themselves back into it. That missed penalty has undoubtedly cost them dear.
17:50 90+1 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Etebo comes off for Iwobi in a surprisingly attacking move by Rohr, sacrificing a holding midfield player for a creative forward in the form of the Arsenal man.
17:49 Iceland’s day in a nutshell (Image: Getty Images Europe) 17:48 A look at Sigurdsson’s penalty miss…
And he appears to be leaning back too much!
(Image: Getty Images Europe) 17:48 87 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Gunnarsson now makes way for Skulason as Iceland search desperately for an equaliser.
17:44 What scoring a brace in the World Cup feels like! (Image: REUTERS) (Image: REX/Shutterstock) (Image: AFP) 17:44 84 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHANCE! Musa wriggles inside from the left and feeds Iheanacho, who lines up a left-footed effort from outside the box that is blocked behind for a corner!
17:44 85 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
That shot is Iheanacho’s last meaningful contribution to the game as former Watford striker Ighalo replaces him.
17:42 83 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
PENALTY MISSED! Gylfi Sigurdsson goes for the top-right corner and fires it over the bar! He took a short run-up and watched the goalkeeper dive the wrong way, but couldn’t hit the target! That might put an end to Iceland’s comeback hopes.
17:40 80 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
PENALTY! Finnbogasson races into the box and Ebuehi clips him at the byline! The referee doesn’t give it initially, but following a VAR check, the referee points to the spot!
17:38 78 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland lok a little shellshocked. They’re still pushing forward to try and get something from this game, though.
17:37 75 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Omeruo played a long ball down the line, and Musa had a great deal to do from there, but he showed incredible pace and composure to pull it off!
17:47 75 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
GOAL!!!! MUSA STRIKES AGAIN! NIGERIA GO 2-0 UP! Musa races down the left and beats a defender for pace, before cutting inside and rounding the charging Halldorsson. He then keeps his composure, picking his spot and rifling it into the top corner!
17:48 74 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CROSSBAR! Musa rattles the crossbar with a wicked, curling strike that fools the goalkeeper into committing to his left while the strike comes back into the middle, but it clatters back off the bar!
17:31 71 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Bodvarsson comes off for Sigurdarson in a like-for-like change up front by Hallgrimsson, who looks to inspire his side to an equaliser.
17:29 70 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
MISS! Troost-Ekong throws himself at a cross from the right, but he can only head wide from a difficult angle.
17:28 69 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Ingason shows great bravery to come out and block a powerful Etebo strike from outside the box. The midfielder had all the time in the world there to line up his strike.
17:27 A quality strike from Musa!
MISS! Gislason has had some joy coming inside off the right, and he works some space well in the middle here before blasting an effort high over the bar from the edge of the box.
17:24 65 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Ragnar Sigurdsson eventually is forced off, with Ingason taking his place at centre-back.
17:23 63 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick is disappointing, however. He elects to clip the ball into the box instead of shooting, and it’s an easy catch for Uzoho.
17:22 62 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Ndidi clatters into Gislason, who had come inside off the right, culling a dangerous attack. He somehow escapes without a booking, however.
17:21 Ragnar Sigurdsson in the wars! (Image: Getty Images Europe) 17:20 61 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHANCE! Moses drives to the edge of the box and slips a ball inside for Musa, who is allowed to turn and tries to pick out Iheanacho, but it’s cut out! Slick play form Nigeria inside the box there.
17:18 59 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
The Iceland supporters begin their famous clap again, trying to lift their team as they pile forward for a corner. What a noise they’re making!
17:17 57 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
SAVE! Ndidi smacks a fantastic, dipping strike from the edge of the box that takes a little deflection on its way through, but Halldorsson does really well to tip it over the bar!
17:16 56 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland try to claim handball as the ball skips up off the turf and clips the elbow of Omeruo, but the referee isn’t interested.
17:15 55 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
They lump it forward as they start to pin Nigeria back, but there’s not enough creativity in their passing to unlock the door.
17:14 53 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland look to muster a response as they start to commit men forward, but this was certainly not their gameplan.
17:13 What going ahead in a World Cup feels like… (Image: REX/Shutterstock) (Image: Getty Images Europe) (Image: AFP) 17:12 51 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Ragnar Sigurdsson is down in the aftermath of that goal, having collided with Musa following his excellent strike. He emerges with a bandage around his head, and potential substitute Ingason takes his seat again.
17:09 49 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
GOAL!!!! NIGERIA MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH! It’s 1-0 here as Musa finishes off a quick counter-attack in some style, controlling Moses’ cross and rifling home a thunderbolt of a strike from inside the box! Game on!
17:13 49 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Moses used his pace well to break from an Iceland long throw, dragging his side up the pitch and crossing for Musa to thump home emphatically.
17:08 48 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland did not register a single shot on target in the second half of their 1-1 draw against Argentina. They will want a win here though, so don’t expect to see a repeat of that.
17:06 48 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
The game looks a little more open so far at the start of this half, with both sides attempting a few more forwards passes.
17:05 46 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Idowu, who was booked in the first half, is replaced by Ebuehi as Rohr looks to spark his side into life.
17:03 46 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
And we’re back underway for the start of the second half! Can either side grab a decisive goal?
16:54 Punters fancy both teams to find the net
Nigeria haven’t as much as mustered a shot in that first half – but that hasn’t stopped punters losing faith.
Both teams to find the net in the second half in 7/2 with Betfair.
Nigeria need to bring someone on to help them make more of their possession and link midfield to attack – perhaps Iwobi will be introduced for one of the three holding midfield players they are currently employing. Iceland are just about on top, but need to convert one of their half-chances. If they score first, you fancy them to hold onto their advantage and see the game out.
After a couple of early chances for Gylfi Sigurdsson forced decent saves out of Uzoho, the game tightened up a bit, with lots of meanigless possession for Nigeria as Iceland sat deep and tried to hit on the break. Nigeria hardly created anything of note, while their opponents looked dangerous from crosses, but were just unable to make a breakthrough.
16:48 45+2 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
HALF-TIME: NIGERIA 0-0 ICELAND
16:48 45+2 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHANCE! A dangerous right-wing cross forces an Iceland corner, before Bodvarsson heads wide from the back post! It looked like he was trying to pick a man out rather than scoring there, but it just drifted out.
16:46 45 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHANCE! Sigurdsson’s resulting free-kick delivery is outstanding, but Finnbogasson just can’t quite connect with it and it glances just wide of the goal! Best chance of the half.
16:45 44 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Bodvarsson gets to a flick on first, before Idowi clatters into him and brings it down, picking up a yellow card.
16:43 42 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
There’s an awkward ball for Halldorsson to deal with as Musa breathes down his neck, but the forward gets a little too eager to prevent the ball running out of play and barges the Icelandic keeper over, conceding a free-kick.
16:46 41 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHANCE! Bjarnasson gets to the byline and pulls it back for Finnbogasson, but it’s just behind him! Good link up on the right to get in there, but the striker didn’t read the pull-back.
16:40 (Image: Getty Images Europe) (Image: REUTERS) 16:40 39 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Moses drives forward and stays on his feet well this time, but there’s limited Nigerian support in the box, and in the end a hopefull ball forward by Musa is collected gratefully by Halldorsson.
16:38 38 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Moses goes down a little easily on the right and wins a free-kick. Iheanacho whips it in, but it’s too low and is cleared for a throw. Musa tries to launch it into the box, but that, too, is defended well.
16:36 36 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHANCE! A deep cross to the back post from the right sails towards Bodvarsson and Bjarnasson, but they get in each other’s way and it goes out for a throw!
16:35 34 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Gislason tries a darting run infield from the right with the ball at his feet, but he’s muscled off it on the edge of the box, and is furious not to be awarded a free-kick.
16:33 32 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Nigeria have settled into their usual pattern of play so far in this game. Iceland have two up and the rest have retreated into their half in two, compact banks of four, while Nigeria play the ball around just inside their own half as the three central defenders and Mikel outnumber the two Icelandic strikers.
16:31 30 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Bodvarsson wins the ball high up the pitch, but he can’t find a penetrating pass to make the most of it and the move slows down, allowing Nigeria to get back and regroup.
16:29 28 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
The game has taken on something of a pedestrian pace as Nigeria advance with the ball, but it’s all around the halfway line again and not in a threatening position.
16:28 (Image: Getty Images Europe) (Image: Getty Images Europe) 16:27 Both sides over 2/1 to pick up the win
A cagey opening has seen draw backers grow in confident.
Both sides are now over 2/1 to win, with Nigeria out to 23/10 with Betfair.
16:27 26 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
There’s the suggsestion that Iceland are perhaps struggling with the heat here, and they’ve certainly not been their usual, energetic selves thus far.
16:25 24 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland lump it forward from a free-kick just outside the centre-circle, but it’s headed confidently away by Omeruo.
16:23 22 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland are piling on the pressure, testing Uzoho again and winning a corner, but they just can’t quite make the pressure count as Nigeria win a free-kick and momentarily alleviate the danger.
16:22 21 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Uzoho is called into action again as he rises highest to tip away a right-wing cross, before Bjarnasson smashes a volley at Moses, who goes down in a heap.
16:21 20 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Gylfi Sigurdsson produces a lovely turn in midfield, beating Etebo with ease. That was a quality piece of skill there.
16:21 (Image: AFP) (Image: Getty Images Europe) 16:20 19 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Moses drives inside into some rare space and tries to link up with Iheanacho, but his pass is just behind his man.
16:18 17 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Nigeria try a long throw as they push Iceland all the way back into their own penalty box, but it’s just a little too short and it’s headed emphatically away.
16:17 15 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland have their own spell of penning Nigeria in, but they can’t find a way through either. They’re cancelling each other out at the moment.
16:15 13 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iceland get out as they win a throw-in, forcing Nigeria to retreat into their own shell. These two sides are both looking to sit deep off the ball and break quickly on it.
16:12 11 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Nigeria growing into the game here after a flurry of early chances for Iceland, but they’re still struggling to break their opponents down and create any meaningful openings.
16:11 9 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Nigeria have a spell of possession, but it’s all in front of their opponents and there’s no penetration in their passing. Iceland are more than happy to sit in and absorb pressure.
16:10 (Image: REUTERS) (Image: Getty Images Europe) 16:08 7 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Iheanacho goes out to take an inswinging corner from the right with his left foot. Interesting decision to have a striker take a corner, but it’s a good delivery from the Leicester City man. It’s well dealt with in the middle though.
16:06 6 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
SAVE! Gylfi Sigurdsson is played into space on the edge of the box and tries to place a shot into the bottom-right corner, but Uzoho gets down well and holds the shot. He’s been a busy man early on here.
16:04 4 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
Uzoho then comes to to collect confidently from the resulting corner. He looks to be on his toes so far.
16:03 3 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
SAVE! Iceland win a promising free-kick in a central area 25 yards or so from goal. Gylfi Sigurdsson whips it towards the top-left corner, but Uzoho reads it well and tips the effort behind.
16:00 1 mins MINUTE BY MINUTE
And we’re underway! Nigeria kick us off for the start of the first half!
Meanwhile, Nigeria need a win to realistically have any hope of progressing from the group, while a defeat would make them the third African side to be eliminated from the tournament.
Iceland have the chance to all but secure qualification from the group with a win here, which would leave Argentina requiring goal difference and an Iceland defeat against Croatia to leapfrog them in the table.
World Cup debutants Iceland, however, have lost just one of their six matches in major tournaments (W2 D3 L1).
15:51 (Image: REUTERS) (Image: REUTERS) 15:55
However, the Super Eagles will have to improve on their recent history, having won just one of their last 13 games at the World Cup (W1 D3 L9), losing their last three, with that solitary victory coming against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
There has only been one previous meeting between Nigeria and Iceland, with the latter winning 3-0 in a friendly in August 1981.
Iceland are without Johan Berg Gudmundsson after he tore his calf muscle in their inspiring 1-1 draw against Argentina. He has been replaced by Gislason in the side, while Hallfredsson also drops to the bench as Heimir Hallgrimsson opts for two up top today, bringing in Bodvarsson and dropping Gylfi Sugurdsson into central midfield.
15:35 (Image: REUTERS) (Image: Getty Images Europe) 15:32
Gernot Rohr has made three bold changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Croatia in their opening fixture, dropping Ighalo, Iwobi and Shehu for Iheanacho, Musa and Omeruo, and changing to a back three.
15:27 Punters backing Sigurdsson
Punters are fancying Gylfi Sigurdsson to score first in this one.
The Swansea midfielder is 11/2 to open the scoring for Iceland against Nigeria with Betfair.
Iceland substitutes: Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Bjorn Sigurdarson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Runar Alex Runarsson, Samuel Kari Fridjonsson, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Emil Hallfredsson, Albert Gudmundsson, Ari Freyr Skulason, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Frederik Schram
Iceland XI (4-4-2): Hannes Thor Halldorsson; Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Kari Arnason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson; Birkir Bjarnason, Aron Gunnarsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Rurik Gislason; Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Alfred Finnbogason
Nigeria substitutes: Elderson Echiejile, Simy, Ogenyi Onazi, Tyronne Ebuehi, Joel Obi, Daniel Akpeyi, Odion Ighalo, John Ogu, Abdullahi Shehu, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Alex Iwobi, Chidozie Awaziem
Nigeria XI (3-5-2): Francis Uzoho; Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun; Brian Idowu, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Obi Mikel, Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Moses; Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho
The line-ups have been announced, and we’ll start with Nigeria.
15:13 Team news!
Here’s how the two sides will line up this afternoon…
Nigeria: Uzoho, Omeruo, Ekong, Balogun, Idowu, Moses, Mikel, Ndidi, Etebo, Musa, Iheanacho Iceland: Halldorsson, Magnusson, R. Sigurdsson, Arnason, Saevarsson, Bjarnason, Gunnarsson, G. Sigurdsson, Gislason, Bodvarsson, Finnbogason (Image: TASS) (Image: AFP) 15:10
Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Group D clash between Nigeria and Iceland at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
12:23 Iceland boss in confident mood
Bullish Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson insists he expects nothing less than victory against Nigeria.
Iceland held Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their opening game and could take a giant leap to the knockout stages with victory against the Super Eagles in Group D.
Iceland are the smallest nation ever to play in the World Cup and after an impressive point against Argentina – where Hannes Halldorsson saved a Lionel Messi penalty – Hallgrimsson is confident.
He told a press conference ahead of the game at the Volgograd Arena on Friday: “We expect to win. We have rotated the team a lot during qualification and we are not afraid, we will not change our plans of what we have decided to do before today’s game.
“We take meetings where we talk about how we can progress, what we should do as a team.
“Everyone is on board, no-one is trying to be bigger than the next guy and that is why this side is getting results above their individual quality.
“The collective value is higher than the individual value so I think that is the strength of the squad.
“No-one is trying to take the spotlight for themselves and they normally give the other guys around them the credit and I think that is rare in football today.”
(Image: Getty Images Europe) Source: mirror sports