MX23RW : Wednesday, November 21 18:53:01

Live Commentary: Nigeria 2-0 Iceland - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Nigeria register a 2-0 victory over Iceland in Friday's World Cup fixture in Volgograd.
Live Commentary: Nigeria 2-0 Iceland - as it happened
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Nigeria have boosted their hopes of reaching the World Cup last 16 with a 2-0 victory over Iceland in Friday's fixture in Volgograd.

After a lacklustre first half, Ahmed Musa put Nigeria into the lead with a brilliantly-taken half-volley before the Leicester City attacker doubled his team's advantage with a fine individual effort.

Iceland had their chances and missed a penalty through Gylfi Sigurdsson, but Nigeria were full value for their win and their fate in this competition is now in their own hands after moving into second place in Group D.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in Russia courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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3.01pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the World Cup clash between Nigeria and Iceland. Argentina's defeat to Croatia has left the door wide open for both of these teams but can they capitalise in Volgograd?

3.02pmBefore we move onto the build-up, let's take a look at the two starting lineups. Both Gernot Rohr and Heimir Hallgrimsson had been left with the need to make changes to their respective teams...

3.04pmNIGERIA XI: Uzoho; Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu; Mikel, Ndidi; Moses, Etudo, Musa; Iheanacho

3.06pmICELAND XI: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R.Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, Gunnarsson, G.Sigurdsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson

3.08pmAs expected, Rohr has decided to make changes to his starting lineup after the defeat to Croatia and it includes starting role for Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who has been introduced back into the team in place of Odion Ighlao.

3.10pmThere is also a start for another Leicester player in the form of Ahmed Musa. The experienced attacker has been preferred to Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, who has to make do with a place among the replacements.

3.12pmIn defence, Kenneth Omeruo - who is contracted to Chelsea - is brought in at right-back with Tyronne Ebuehi only featuring on the bench. The remainder of the backline remains the same.

3.14pmAs expected John Obi Mikel partners Wilfred Ndidi in midfield, with new Stoke City signing Oghenekaro Etebo retaining his spot in the starting lineup. The 22-year-old will be keen to redeem himself after netting an unfortunate own goal against Croatia.

3.16pmIceland's main injury doubt was concerning Burnley winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson and the attacker does indeed miss out with the calf injury sustained against Argentina. It has resulted in Rurik Gislason being brought in on the right of midfield.

3.18pmThere is also an alteration further forward with Emil Halfredsson being left out in favour of Reading striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who appears likely to partner Alfred Finnbogason in attack.

3.20pmThe rest of the starting lineup remains the same with Gylfi Sigurdsson to provide the creative spark in behind the two frontmen. Aston Villa's Birkir Bjarnason will start on the left of midfield.

3.22pmRESULT! The full-time whistle has not long gone in St Petersburg with Brazil requiring late goals to get the better of Costa Rica. If you would like to read our on-the-whistle report, you can do so by clicking here.

3.24pmStaying on the subject of match reports, you can click here if you missed Argentina succumbing to a 3-0 defeat to Croatia last night. It could turn out to be a pivotal result in this group.

3.26pmNigeria head into this fixture needing a win to boost their hopes of progression and they will take confidence from the fact that each of their five World Cup victories have all come against European opposition!

3.28pmHowever, the Super Eagles have won just one of their last 13 matches in this tournament. That came against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014, with the result effectively earning the team a place in the last 16.

3.30pmSince that triumph, defeats have come against Argentina, France and Croatia. It has been a tough run of games on the global stage but Nigeria cannot afford for that to be extended today.

3.32pmIn general, Nigeria need to get a win on the board. They are currently on a five-match winless streak, with their only draw coming against Congo DR.

3.34pmOne aspect of their play which needs improvement is in attack, with the team only scoring in five of their last 11 World Cup matches.

3.36pmHowever, they do have the firepower for that to improve. Iheanacho has netted eight goals in 19 matches for his country, while Musa has scored 13 times in 73 outings. The pair will expect to get chances in this game.

3.38pmLet's turn our attention to Iceland now who are competing in just their second-ever World Cup game. Their 1-1 draw with Argentina in their first is looking a little less impressive right now!

3.40pmOn a serious note, Iceland will take nothing but positives from sharing the spoils with the 2014 runners-up. It means that four points from their next two matches will be enough to qualify for the last 16.

3.42pmAchieving that is a big ask, however. Despite their showing against Argentina, Iceland are currently seven matches without a win in all competitions!

3.44pmIceland have also failed to keep a clean sheet in any of those games. Iceland look solid at the back but their record suggests that there are weaknesses for the opposition to exploit.

3.46pmThe minnows are also showing weakness in the second half of matches. In their last six games, they have either given up leads, conceded goals in the final quarter or have simply made no impact going forward. Keep an eye out for that later in this fixture.

3.48pmPREDICTION! This game represents a big opportunity for both sides, but we feel that they may cancel each other out and play out a 1-1 stalemate. What will Argentina want? Probably a Nigeria win so that their fate remains in their own hands.

3.50pmHEAD TO HEAD! Friday's fixture represents just the second-ever meeting between the two nations, with Iceland registering a 3-0 success back in 1981.

3.52pmIn the build-up to this tournament, Nigeria played a number of different European teams and they did not fare too good. Defeats came against each of Serbia, England and the Czech Republic, although a 1-0 win was recorded over Poland in March.

3.54pmIceland's sole fixture against African opposition took place earlier this month, with a 2-2 draw being played out with Ghana.

3.56pmIt's time for the two nations to start making their way out in Volgograd. England and Tunisia were fortunate enough to play their game here in the evening, but these two teams are not so lucky. It is 32C.

3.58pmA reminder of the two starting lineups...

NIGERIA XI: Uzoho; Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu; Mikel, Ndidi; Moses, Etudo, Musa; Iheanacho

ICELAND XI: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R.Sigurdsson, Magnusson; Gislason, Gunnarsson, G.Sigurdsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson


1 minKICKOFF! Nigeria get us underway!

2 minIt takes Iceland just over a minute to earn a free kick around 25 yards from goal and in a central position. Sigurdsson will take...

3 minSHOT!: Sigurdsson's curling effort is heading towards the top corner but it lacks the power to really trouble Uzoho, who tips the ball over the crossbar.

5 minSHOT! Iceland have started really brightly here. Another chance arrives at the feet of Sigurdsson but the Everton man tries to be too precise from 20 yards and Uzoho makes the easy save.

7 minNigeria are starting to settle down now and have earned a corner but they are very much second best during these early stages. This is already progressing into an entertaining battle.

9 minIceland are giving Nigeria more of a chance to get their foot on the ball. If everything, it appears as though they are looking to manage their fitness levels. I don't suppose it is 32C very often in Scandinavia.

11 minStill much of the same with Nigeria keeping Iceland on the back foot. Iceland appear perfectly content to sit deep and wait for a mistake out of the Super Eagles rather than looking to press.

13 minWhen Iceland do not have the ball - which has been for the majority of the past five minutes - Bodvarsson and Finnbogason are well inside their own half. The Iceland fans don't care - here comes the first thunder clap of the contest.

15 minFinally, Iceland have some more joy in the Nigeria half with a long throw causing problems in the final third. Nigeria survive, however, but watch as Iceland ready another attack.

17 minNigeria have just had a long throw-in of their own but nothing comes from it. It's all gone a bit quiet since Iceland's two opportunities in the opening five minutes.

19 minMoses attempts to inject some life into Nigeria's attack but despite some intelligent play on the right, Iheanacho fails to control his pass on the edge of the area and the opportunity is lost.

21 minBack come Iceland with the pressure starting with a long throw from Gunnarsson. The Cardiff City man eventually crosses from the right, forcing Uzoho to tip the ball away, before Bjarnason sees a volley deflected wide.

23 minFor all of Nigeria's possession in this game, they are yet to register a shot on goal. Iheanacho is a willing worker but he isn't seeing enough of the ball and when he does, it's away from the penalty area.

25 minBetter from the Super Eagles who make inroads down the left through Musa. Nigeria eventually get a cross into the area but Iceland are too big and too strong and comfortably deal with the danger.

27 minIt is difficult to see where the first goal is going to come from. There's just not enough sustained pressure coming from either team. In all fairness, the conditions may be playing a part.

29 minFor what is it worth, both teams are passing the ball around nicely but that is probably because they are not being troubled. This is a World Cup group fixture but it feels like a friendly.

31 minNigeria have had 67% of possession but in 31 minutes, they still haven't attempted a shot. That tells you everything that you need to know about this match! A free kick for the African nation from a deep position has just gone to waste.

33 minStill nothing else to report. Both teams look lethargic aside from the odd flurry forward. Both managers will surely look to change things at the break. This is the game which these two nations will regard as their best chance of three points.

35 minSHOT! It's ambitious but you cannot blame Bjarnason for taking this shot on. The Aston Villa man makes a solid connection with his volley on the turn but it is always going over.

37 minThere are less than 10 minutes to go in this first half and I have to admit, I am looking forward to the half-time refreshments as much as the players will be. It really has been that dull but let's be positive - it can only get better.

39 minThere are plenty of bottles on the side of the pitch where players have been forced to take on extra water. Mikel is the latest player to do so. We still await Nigeria's first shot.

41 minAlmost for Iceland. Bjarnason has been his side's biggest threat and he reaches the byline after nutmegging a defender. However, the Villa man's low cross avoids everyone and Nigeria survive.

43 minA corner for Nigeria. Maybe this is the moment?! No - no, it's not. Iheanacho's inswinger goes over everyone and out for a goal kick.

44 minBOOKING! Idowu goes into the book for fouling Bodvarsson on the touchline. A late chance here for Iceland.

45 minCHANCE! How have Iceland not scored?! Sigurdsson's set piece is terrific and Finnbogason meets it around 10 yards out but the forward fails to make a proper connection and the ball goes wide of the far post.

45+1 minThere will be two minutes of added-on time.

45+2 minCHANCE! Where has this been all half? Iceland win a corner and Bodvarsson meets it at the back post, but the forward's header goes just wide of the far post.

45+3 minHALF TIME: Nigeria 0-0 Iceland

4.51pmThe half-time whistle goes in Volgograd and we remain goalless. It's been the most uneventful 45 minutes of this World Cup but Iceland did suggest just before the break that they can find a way through. Nigeria have had two thirds of the ball but are yet to register a shot of any note.

4.55pmIceland may have seen less of the ball but the Scandinavian team will feel as though they should have opened the scoring. They forced the pace both at the start and the end of the half and when they did, Nigeria struggled to cope. Iceland appear to be trying to manage their fitness levels but at some point, they must push for maximum points.

4.58pmNigeria have kept hold of the ball well - and perhaps it is a tactic to tire Iceland out during the second half - but the fact remains that they have failed to register a shot on goal in a match that they really need to win. Much to ponder for Rohr.

5.02pmThe two teams are making their way back out. Neither team look the most lively! Conserving energy and all that...

5.04pmNigeria have made a change, with Ebuehi coming on to replace Idowu.

46 minKICKOFF! We are back underway.

46 minSHOT! Unbelievable scenes. It has taken Nigeria all of 20 seconds to get a shot off in this half! Etebo surged forward before seeing a low shot from distance saved by Halldorsson.

48 minThe signs are good that we are going to get a much more entertaining half. Iceland have already responded positively without getting an effort on goal.

49 minGOAL! Nigeria 1-0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa)

49 minUnbelievable! Less sarcasm this time. Nigeria break forward down the right and the ball is eventually delivered into the box by Moses, where Musa brings the ball down and drills a half-volley into the roof of the net from 12 yards. Great goal!

51 minWe are going to have a break in play while Ragnar Sigurdsson receives treatment on a head injury. Iceland need the time to regroup. They look shell-shocked here.

53 minWe are still to get back underway. Sigurdsson looks ok to continue for now but at one stage, a replacement had been lined up.

55 minIn the build-up to this game, we pointed out that Iceland are not a second-half team. They have not made a positive contribution after half time for at least seven matches. This is a big test on their fitness.

57 minSHOT! It's all Nigeria. Ndidi tries his luck from distance - he is at least 30 yards out - but his swerving strike is tipped over the crossbar by Halldorsson.

59 minBetter from Iceland, however. They win a corner out on the left and the ball goes free by the penalty spot, but Iceland cannot react fast enough and Nigeria clear.

61 minIt can't be long before the first Iceland change. Nigeria's superior fitness is starting to tell and they are relishing the chance of playing on the break. Less than half-an-hour to go.

63 minIceland win a free kick in a threatening area but Sigurdsson opts to cross instead of shoot and Uzoho makes the easy claim.

65 minSUBSTITUTION! Iceland's first change sees Ragnar Sigurdsson withdrawn - presumably because of the head injury that he sustained at the start of the second half. Ingason is on his place.

66 minSHOT! Moses launch another attack down the right but Moses didn't need to try a shot from the side of the penalty area. His effort goes well wide of the near post. Waste of possession.

68 minSHOT! Gislason receives the ball around 40 yards from goal and his only thought is to turn and run towards goal. The Iceland midfielder gets an effort away but it is always going over the crossbar.

70 minThis match really has been a game of two halves. You wouldn't back against another goal being scored during the final 20 minutes of this contest.

71 minSUBSTITUTION! It's one former Wolves man for another. Bodvarsson makes way with Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson coming on his place.

73 minCHANCE! Nearly a second for Nigeria. Balogun - who will represent Brighton & Hove Albion next season - meets a corner at the near post but sends a glancing header over the crossbar.

74 minWOODWORK! Nigeria now hit the woodwork! The ball sits up for Musa on the edge of the area and the Leicester man cannons a shot off the crossbar! However...

75 minGOAL! Nigeria 2-0 Iceland (Ahmed Musa)

75 minGame over and it's another stunner from Musa! The attacker surges clear of Arnason, rounds Halldorsson and takes his time before finding the bottom corner with a player on the line. What an outstanding goal. This is the perfect result for Argentina. They are not out of this competition just yet.

77 minTo Iceland's credit, they are still trying to push forward but they are second best all over the pitch. They are going to have to beat Croatia on matchday three to have a chance of remain in this competition.

79 minNigeria really look a class act now. They are showing the confidence to spray the ball around with pace, producing flicks as and when they want. This could be a long 11 minutes for Iceland.

81 minPENALTY TO ICELAND! Ebuehi trips Finnbogason inside the penalty area and it's a definite penalty. The referee missed it in open play but VAR comes to the rescue!

83 minMISS! Oh my word. Sigurdsson sends his penalty over the top of the crossbar! It's a terrible effort.

85 minSUBSTITUTION! Off comes Iheanacho - after shooting wide from distance - with Ighalo being introduced.

87 minSUBSTITUTION! Iceland make another change with Skulason taking the place of Gunnarsson.

89 minThis match feels pretty much over now. Nigeria have managed this game brilliantly. Iceland look out of ideas.

90 minSUBSTITUTION! Nigeria decide to waste a bit of time with the introduction of Iwobi for Etebo.

90+1 minThere will be six minutes of added-on time.

90+3 minIceland have been boosted with the amount of time added-on, but Nigeria still look comfortable. A draw with Argentina is likely to be enough to earn a place in the last 16.

90+5 minThis doesn't look too good. Mikel has picked up an injury to his arm and looks in some distress. He will carry on but this could be an issue going forward.

90+7 minFULL TIME: Nigeria 2-0 Iceland

6.00pmThe full-time whistle goes in Volgograd and Nigeria have registered a deserved 2-0 win over Iceland. The Super Eagles were second best during the opening 45 minutes but Musa changed the game in the second half with two brilliantly-taken goals. A win over Argentina will be enough for Nigeria to qualify from Group D.

6.02pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us today and we hope that you can stick around for the upcoming fixture involving Serbia and Switzerland.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.


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Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi in action during his side's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace in January 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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