|World Cup 2014|
ScheduleSaturday, 21 June 2014 at 16:00 GMT / 17:00 UK / 21:30 IST
VenueEstádio Mineirão (Belo Horizonte)
Next Saturday, Argentina will measure forces with Iran at Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte on a match that could grant the Albiceleste team a direct ticket to the next stage of the tournament if they manage to win.
Last Sunday, Argentina defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina on their opening match of the World Cup. The South American team’s performance left, however, something to be desired, especially during the first-half, where they portrayed a fairly poor image of themselves. Alejandro Sabella opted for a more conservative 5-3-2 approach with some changes in his usual line-up, bringing in Maxi Rodriguez to replace Fernando Gago at the centre of the pitch, an option that proved to be wrong right from the start. Argentina were a team without ideas during the first-half and only gained the lead thanks to an early own goal by Kolasinac. The half-time as used by Alejandro Sabella to implement some deep changes into the team, introducing Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuain into the match and reorganizing the team into their usual 4-3-3 scheme.
After such an unconvincing performance, it is very likely that the Argentinian manager will return to his usual approach against Iran, who are, in theory, a fairly inferior team when compared to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As for Iran, the match against Argentina will pose a good opportunity for them to show their real potential after a bland goalless draw with Nigeria last Monday. Pundits labeled the Iran vs Nigeria clash as the worst match of the competition so far, with the two sides displaying a fairly poor image of what they can really do.
Iran are considered the weakest link of the group, but if one takes a closer look at their campaign during the World Cup qualification round, one can easily conclude that they are not as “frail” as people might think.
For the match against Argentina, the highly experienced Portuguese head coach Carlos Queiroz will probably not implement plenty of changes in this team. He will certainly maintain the 4-2-3-1 approach he used on the previous match, with Nekounam and Teymourian holding the midfield line and starting the team’s attacking process.
Despite their unconvincing display against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Argentina are firm favourites to win next Saturday’s match. Iran, on the other hand, despite being a fairly unpredictable team, doesn’t seem to have what is necessary to defeat a higher calibre team such as Argentina.
Stats: W-4 L-0 D-1
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Stats: W-1 L-0 D-3
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Argentina (4-3-3) - Romero - Zabaleta - Rojo - Garay - Fernández - Gago - Mascherano - Di Maria - Messi - Agüero - Higuain
Iran (4-2-3-1) - Davari - Montazeri - Sadeghi - Heydari - Hosseini - Dejagah - Nekounam - Teymourian - Shojaei - Hajsafi - Ghoochannejhad