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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Iceland optimistic for Croatia clash

Croatia v Iceland, Live BBC4 (Ko 7.0)

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson. Photo: REUTERS
Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson. Photo: REUTERS

Iceland will retain their renowned sense of optimism as they take on already-qualified Croatia this evening in a bid to claw their way out of World Cup Group D, coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said.

To reach the last 16 on their World Cup debut, Iceland must beat the Croatians and hope Nigeria fail to beat Argentina. Even then, qualification could be decided by goal difference. "We are optimistic about everything. If it's the Eurovision song contest we always think we're going to win it, even though we never do. It's the same here, optimism is in our genes," Hallgrimsson said.

"We think we're going to win all the games, and even if we lose we think we're going to win the next one." Iceland's titanic task could be eased if Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic sticks to his promise of rotating his team to keep his squad fresh, his side having sealed their place in the next round by beating Nigeria 2-0 and Argentina 3-0.

Dalic is expected to leave out six players on yellow cards who risk suspension including Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic, while 32-year-old captain Luka Modric and Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren could also be in line for a rest.

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