Argentina have won six of their 11 matches since the arrival of new coach Jorge Sampaoli, but their record is more impressive when captain Lionel Messi has been in the side as they’ve won six of their last nine unbeaten matches while conceding just twice and with five wins to nil.
Meanwhile, Iceland have lost four of six winless matches since their qualification was secured, conceding 14 times across those games. What’s more, when playing the top-12 ranked sides in our system, they’ve lost to nil in all their last three matches since January last year.
The Argentinians have covered the -1 handicap in six of their last seven matches on neutral territory against sides ranked outside our top-15. Furthermore, if we extend Iceland’s performances to that against our top-15 ranked sides, they’ve lost all the last five, losing by at least two goals in three of these as they’ve failed to score in three of the last four of them.
However, the favourites have rarely thrashed teams in the past couple of years as they scored just 19 times in their 18 qualifiers. They’ve kept a clean sheet in both their last two that Otamendi and Fazio have started together at the back though, including a recent 2-0 win over Italy. Iceland rely on Gylfi Sigurdsson for inspiration, with him having a say in three of their last four goals, but with just 94 minutes under his belt since returning for injury we think they’ll struggle in the final third.