The Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes that Nigeria is a very strong team but they are going into the 2nd group D match expecting to win.
“The Nigerian team is very physical and can be quite direct. We know that they have the speed to trouble us but we have to be prepared to take them on”.
He was speaking at the pre-match press conference inside the Volgograd Arena venue of the match on Friday the 22nd. “The Nigerian team is filled with players used to big matches and have big teams” Hallgrimsson says. “They have players who play in the English Premier League and in LaLiga so we are very aware that we will be going against a pretty strong side”.
Nigeria and other African teams have been very suspect at set-pieces in the tournament, surely Iceland are licking their lips at the prospect? “Well the Nigerian team have conceded two goals from them against Croatia so yes, it is an area we will be looking to exploit if we get the chance. You know we don’t create many chances normally”.
Iceland are naturally confident after a thoroughly deserved draw in the opening game against Argentina. Asked how he could describe his team in a word Hallgrimsson says “A Team. We are just a team in which everyone subjects themselves to the team ethos”.
After that Argentina fixture the team held up a message of support for the ill Nigerian goalkeeper of Wolves Carl Ikeme. “Football pales when matters of health are concerned and we just wanted him and his family to know that rivalry does not affect these things”
Over 90% of the Iceland population back home watched the fixture against Argentina according to reports and the players and coaching crew are very much aware of the total support they get. A win against Nigeria will put them very close to a 2nd round qualification in this their first World Cup appearance. The whole country will be behind them in this quest that is for sure.