2014 World Cup: Argentina vs Iran preview

June 20, 2014
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Argentina vs IranAfter the hard-fought victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Argentina will be hoping for a much easier game when they face underdogs Iran in the second group game.

Team Melli showed very little in the goalless draw against Nigeria, but no doubt they will have been delighted with the result that leaves them in contention for the second place in the group.

After topping the South American Zone of the World Cup qualifiers, Los Albicelestes experienced some problems in international friendlies, sharing spoils with Ecuador and Romania while defeating Bosnia.

The team did well to win both warm-up games against Trinidad & Tobago and Slovenia in the build up to the tournament finals before taking on Bosnia in the opening fixture at the 2014 World Cup.

And despite taking the lead early on, Alejandro Sabella’s charges struggled to establish domination in the first period, but everything changed when the boss switched to 4-3-3 formation.

Lionel Messi scored the second after a beautiful one-two with Gonzalo Higuain, with Bosnia only scoring a consolation goal early on.

With Sabella likely to stick to the 4-3-3 system against Iran, Argentina are 2.00 (1/1) to win by three goals or more.

Having finally ended his scoring drought at the World Cup finals, Lionel Messi is priced at 1.56 (14/25) to net against Iran as well.

While there are no fresh injuries to report, the team that started the second half of the Bosnia clash is likely to feature against Iran.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Romero – Zabaleta, Fernandez, Garay, Rojo – Gago, Mascherano, Di Maria – Aguero, Higuain, Messi.

Iran may be seen as one of the weakest sides at the tournament finals, but they arrived in Brazil as the top ranked Asian team that had conceded just 2 goals in 8 matches in the final round of the qualifying campaign.

Team Melli went on to prove they are very hard to beat by holding Nigeria to a goalless draw, but Carlos Queiroz’s men don’t exactly have plenty of reason for optimism.

The reality is they did not look that strong at the back, while they never really tested the opposition keeper, which is enough to suggest they could face all sorts of problems against star-studded Argentina side.

Iran will again attempt to frustrate the opposition by adopting a defence-minded approach, but Argentina look a good bet to win the game to nil at 1.57 (4/7).

Boss Carlos Queiroz is almost certain to field an unchanged side to that which started against Nigeria, with only Andranik Teymourian one yellow card away from a suspension.

Probable starting line-up (4-5-1): Haghighi – Hosseini, Sadeghi, Montazeri, Pooladi – Dejagah, Nekounam, Heydari, Teymourian, Hajsafi – Ghoochannejhad.

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