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2018 Soccer World Cup factbox: Group D

Sergio Aguero (AFP)

Cape Town – All the need-to-know facts on the international teams vying for glory in Group D at the 2018 Soccer World Cup in Russia.

ARGENTINA

Honours: World Cup winners 1978, 1986; 14 times winners of Copa America; Confederations Cup winners 1992; Olympic Gold 2004, 2008

Past World Cup performance: Seventeenth participation.

Best result: Winners 1978, 1986

FIFA ranking: 5th

Main clubs: Boca Juniors, River Plate

Nickname: Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue)

How they qualified: Finished third in CONMEBOL qualifying

Friendly matches scheduled before the World Cup: June 9 v Israel (Jerusalem)

23-man World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman (Tigres Monterrey/MEX), Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea/ENG), Franco Armani (River Plate)

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla/ESP), Federico Fazio (Roma/ITA), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City/ENG), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United/ENG), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax/NED), Marcos Acuna (Sporting/POR), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/POR), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino/ITA), Javier Mascherano (Hebei Fortune/CHN).

Midfielders: Ever Banega (Sevilla/ESP), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan/ITA), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham/ENG), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente).

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP), Paulo Dybala (Juventus/ITA), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City/ENG), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus/ITA), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors).

NIGERIA

Honours: Africa Cup of Nations winners in 1980, 1994 and 2013; Olympic gold medallists in 1996

Past World Cup performance: Sixth participation.

Best result: Round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014

FIFA ranking: 47th

Main clubs: Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Plateau United, Akwa United, MFM FC

Nickname: Super Eagles

How they qualified: Finished top of African qualifying Group B

Friendly matches scheduled: Drew 1-1 v DR Congo on May 28 (Port Harcourt); June 2 v England (London); June 6 v Czech Republic (Austria)

Provisional 29-man World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna/ESP), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United/RSA), Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa/TUR), Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge/BEL), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05/GER), William Troost-Ekong, Shehu Abdullahi (Bursaspor/TUR), Ola Aina (Hull City/ENG), Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag/NED), Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm/RUS), Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plodiv/BUL), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes/FRA)

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/ENG), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor/TUR), Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda/CHN), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva/ISR), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas/ESP), Joel Obi (Torino/ITA), Mikel Agu (Bursaspor/TUR), Uche Agbo (Standard Liege/BEL)

Forwards: Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone/ITA), Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars), Victor Moses (Chelsea/ENG), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai/CHN), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City/ENG), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal/ENG)

CROATIA

Honours: None

Past World Cup performance: Fifth participation.

Best result: Third in 1998

FIFA world ranking: 18th

Main clubs: Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, Rijeka, Osijek

Nickname: ‘Fiery Ones’ (‘Vatreni’ in Croatian)

How they qualified: Finished second in UEFA qualifying Group I, then beat Greece in play-off (4-1 on aggregate)

Friendly matches scheduled before the World Cup: June 3 v Brazil (Liverpool, England); June 8 v Senegal (Osijek)

24-man World Cup squad (to be reduced to 23 by June 4):

Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco/FRA), Lovre Kalinic (Gent/BEL), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)

Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas/TUR), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria/ITA), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool/ENG), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Josip Pivaric (Dinamo Kiev/UKR), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Matej Mitrovic (Club Brugge/BEL), Duje Caleta-Car (Salzburg/AUT)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/ESP), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona/ESP), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid/ESP), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina/ITA), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan/ITA), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka)

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus/ITA), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan/ITA), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan/ITA), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim/GER), Marko Pjaca (Schalke/GER), Ante Rebic (Eintracht/GER)

ICELAND

Honours: none

Past World Cup performance: First participation

FIFA ranking: 22nd

Main clubs: KR Reykjavik, Valur

Nickname: “Strkarnir okkar” (“Our boys”)

How they qualified: Finished top of UEFA qualifying Group I

Friendly matches scheduled: June 2 v Norway (Reykjavik); June 7 v Ghana (Reykjavik)

23-man World Cup squad:

Goalkeepers: Hannes Halldorsson (Randers/DEN), Runar Runarsson (Nordsjalland/DEN), Frederik Schram (Roskilde/DEN)

Defenders: Kari Arnason (Vikingur), Ari Skulason (Lokeren/BEL), Birkir Savarsson (Valur), Sverrir Ingason (Rostov/RUS), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City/ENG), Holmar Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia/BUL), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Rostov/RUS), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga/NOR)

Midfielders: Arnor Traustason (Malmo/SWE), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City/ENG), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton/ENG), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese/ITA), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa/ENG), Johann Gudmundsson (Burnley/ENG), Olafur Skulason (Karabukspor/TUR), Rurik Gislason (Sandhausen/GER)

Forwards: Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg/GER), Jon Bodvarsson (Reading/ENG), Bjorn Sigurdarson (Rostov/RUS), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV Eindhoven/NED)

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