Iceland’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup haven’t exactly been going well so far. It’s difficult to dampen the excitement for these fans, who are seeing their national side on the biggest stage for the first time. However, Iceland have recorded a string of defeats since booking their place at the tournament this summer. Can they avoid yet another loss on Thursday night, when Ghana are the visitors to Reykjavik? This is their final game before jetting off to Russia, so there has to be some kind of turnaround in form this week.
However, Ghana are a solid side, so this result is far from given. They’re fresh from a 2-0 win over Japan in Yokohama, and they’ll be out to take advantage of Iceland’s recent run of results. Iceland head in to the tournament as rank outsiders, and they’re not expected to repeat their Euro 2016 success. While they managed to get to the last eight in France, simply making it out of their group seems difficult this time around.
Iceland are hoping his clash gives them an edge when it comes to taking on Nigeria, who they meet in their second match at the tournament. Although, it’s hard to see how this clash, or their friendlies with Norway and Peru, could prepare them for facing Lionel Messi in their opener. The World Cup debutants will be out to impress against Ghana, which could take them to Russia on a high. However, the away side have had some enjoyable trips of late, and they could cause a problem in this visit.
Ghana come here on a five game unbeaten run, while they’ve gone four matches without defeat on the road following that win over Japan. They have now scored in four of their last five trips, while they did rack up seven goals in six matches during the final stage of their qualifying campaign. With Iceland shipping three goals in each of their matches this year, we can see the visitors grabbing a goal here.
Iceland have seen both teams score in four of their last five friendlies, and their defence seems vulnerable against a Ghana side who must be full of confidence. While Iceland have scored in their last five non-competitive games at home, they’ve conceded three to Peru and Norway in each of their last two here. With that in mind, we’re backing both teams to score in this clash, while we believe Ghana can leave Reykjavik with a point following their recent form.
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There have been no recent meetings between these two sides.
Just three Urvalsdeild players have made Iceland’s squad, compared to five players from the Premier League and Championship; with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Birkir Bjarnason and Jon Bodvarsson included.
Ghana have left out Swansea’s Ayew brothers, while Jeffrey Schlupp of Crystal Palace also misses out.