We’re one week closer to the World Cup, so you know what that means. That means that it’s time for the continuation of our blog series – Geronigo’s World Cup of Adventures! After running through Group C last week, we’ll be continuing this week with Group D which features four vastly different countries – Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, and Nigeria.
So, without further ado, here’s our run-through of the footballing and adventuring possibilities of each nation. Read on and enjoy!
The South Americans could be viewed as the also-rans of the World Cup. Since 1978, Argentina have managed to reach the quarter finals in six out of ten tournaments. From these close-successes, La Albiceleste were awarded the not-so-coveted title of ‘runners up’ in both 1990 and more recently, in 2014. However, there has been some success for Argentina, as they were crowned champions back in 1978 where the team managed to beat Netherlands on their home soil in Buenos Aires. This summer’s edition of the tournament is likely to be a final effort for many of their ageing star players including Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María, Sergio Agüero, and Gonzalo Higuaín. The pressure really is on.
But, what do Argentina hold in the adventuring department? Here at Geronigo, we are open to adventures of all types, but this really is an activity which is new to us – sandboarding. Located at the foothills in a town called Fiambalá, this activity is very much like surfing, but on sand. Scores of people can be seen gliding down moderately sloped hills on the sand throughout the summer months – sometimes incorporating jumps and tricks into their routine!
Strákarnir okkar (Our Boys) enter the tournament as the smallest nation by population to ever qualify for a World Cup! Their population may be small, but their levels of courage and commitment certainly are not. This was proven back in the European Championships of 2016, where they managed to reach the quarter finals. This summer, the Icemen will be in high spirits coming into the tournament as they won their qualifying group over Group D opponents Croatia.
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure opportunity in Iceland, then there only really is one option – kayaking. From sea kayaking, to exploring the fjords and even kayaking on a glacier lagoon, it seems like floating across various bodies of water is the best way to experience what this magnificent country has to offer.
The Croatian team entering this World Cup may realise that this is, like Argentina, their last chance to accomplish something magical with their current generation of footballers. The quality throughout their squad is something which must be taken note of, especially with players such as Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić, Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitić, and one to watch Nikola Vlašić of Everton. The Croatians really do have the potential to be the surprise package of the tournament.
But what isn’t a surprise, is the amount of water sports which you can do along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. From kayaking and canoeing, to stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and snorkelling, Croatia is a water lover’s paradise. Our highlighted activity is one which combines swimming, rock climbing and abseiling. Yep, you guessed it – canyoning! When you swim, walk, and abseil your way through the Cetina River, you will encounter rapids, clear lakes, and even waterfalls – making for an unforgettable experience.
German manager Gernot Rohr has transformed the Super Eagles since his appointment in 2016. He has refreshed the side by introducing younger players into the squad to form a ruthless counter-attacking side which features the familiar faces of Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi. With a solid-looking defence also in place, Nigeria seem to have a chance of qualification if they manage to maintain the optimism which is in place throughout the squad.
If you’re looking for a high adrenaline activity with a view, then rock climbing is the ideal choice when in Nigeria. There are several challenging rock formations across the West African country including the Zuma Rock, Chappal Waddi, and the Idanre Hills, with the latter rising 3000ft above sea level. The hills provide magnificent views of the surrounding area, and they are even home to a unique ecosystem!
From a footballing point of view, Argentina should be a definite when it comes to progression to the knock-out stages. The second-placed qualified team is most likely to be Croatia, according to the bookmakers. However, we shouldn’t rule out Nigeria or even Iceland, as in France two years ago, they proved to the rest of Europe they shouldn’t be underestimated. For that reason, this certainly is a group to keep your eyes on this summer.
Like the preceding groups in our World Cup of Adventures, each country holds an impressive catalogue of adrenaline-packed activities. But, like the World Cup, there can only be one winner. Iceland really is a country like no other, and this is highlighted by its impressive kayaking locations. Where else on earth can you kayak across glacial lakes, deep blue seas, and impressive fjords?
And that’s it for Group D! We’ve still got a few weeks yet until the football kicks off in Russia, which means that we’ll be back at the same time next week, where we’ll be running through the next group and reviewing their adrenaline activities.