Our football match prediction:
Iceland will be aiming to get their revenge on Croatia for a 2-0 loss in Zagreb when the two teams face each other at Laugardalsvollur stadium in Reykjavik in Sunday’s football game. The Icelanders participated at the 2016 European Championship finals, but they have big ambitions for the next year’s World Cup in Russia as well. Heimir Hallgrimsson’s men sit in second place in Group I ahead of the visit of Croatia and they would not be too disappointed with one point from the game. The Vatreni, on the other hand, kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw with Turkey, but they are on a four-game winning run in Group I at the moment. However, seeing that Iceland are tough to beat at home, we predict that the two teams are going to share the spoils in Sunday’s derby. Luka Modric helped Real Madrid defend their Champions League trophy at the weekend and, no doubt, the opposition defenders should have him at bay.
Highlighted Player (Birkir Bjarnason):
The 28-year-old Icelandic central midfielder Birkir Bjarnason bearing a striking nickname Thor in his homeland is a footballing nomad, having played for no less than seven clubs in less than ten years of his professional careers. After spells in Belgium and Italy, the Iceland midfielder moved to FC Basel in 2015 to amass 29 Swiss Super League appearances and add 10 goals in his club’s title-winning campaign. Following a successful season at club level, the versatile midfielder Birkir Bjarnason, who is equally apt to perform as a striker, made striking appearance during the Euro 2016 in France. His commanding appearances made him a key player for the minnows Iceland as they knocked England out to reach the quarter finals of the tournament. Despite heavy summer interest from several English sides, Bjarnason remained with the Swiss champions and is expected to play a key role in their Champions League campaign.
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments. Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals. Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.