Updated: Jun 17, 2018
Jeez, I thought this group would be straightforward. "Messi + 10 other dudes" will have final aspirations and Croatia have some of the best footballers in the world, so, they should be favorites for second place, right? The numbers don't necessarily think so.
Iceland, *insert population reference here*, have shown giant-killing quality in the past and my model thinks that they can push Croatia all the way. Nigeria come into the tournament with a young team and can cause most teams problems on their day, but this group might be a level too high for them.
There is a sense that Croatia lack pace in the middle and can be harried by the men from Iceland, but, as I mentioned above, the Croats have such amazing ability in the middle of the park that they could potentially negate a hard-running approach from the minnows. The match is extremely finely poised but, let's check out the individual match predictions.
Surprisingly, Nigeria are most likely to pick up points against the Croats. In that particular game. all 3 results are almost as like as the other. Should be a cracker.
I am convinced that Argentina will not win all 3 games. If we say that 5-6 points should be enough to qualify second, then taking points off Argentina is almost a necessity. Croatia have the best chance of doing that, with, *only*, a 70% chance of loss. The Croatians are also most likely to drop points to Nigeria, bolstering Icelandic hopes.
I can see Iceland knicking a point off every team in this group, but I do not believe that they will get a win. World Cups are completely different game to European Championships, and I sense that the debutants might get a little over-awed by the occasion. Their first game is against Nigeria, their most winnable game. Will the Icelandic minnows get over their butterflies or will the young Super Eagles, re-establish themselves on the big stage - this should be a cracker.
Moving onto final finish probabilities for each team,
Argentina are most likely to finish first & Croatia are most likely to finish second. The interesting thing here is the probability of finishing third - 3 teams are almost equally likely to finish there.
Reach out to @sgtsaltnpeppa if you've got your own interpretation of this group and the results.