|World Cup 2014|
ScheduleMonday, 16 June 2014 at 19:00 GMT / 20:00 UK / 00:30 IST
VenueArena da Baixada (Curitiba)
Next Monday, Iran will go head-to-head with Nigeria at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba on what will be the second match for World Cup’s Group F.
Iran are a completely unknown team for the majority of football lovers and they might use the mystery surrounding them to try and surprise their opponents. Iran were only defeated once on their last eleven matches and although some of the matches were against “low calibre” opponents, one cannot ignore the team’s recent good streak. By the hand of the experienced Portuguese head coach and former Manchester United's assistant manager, Carlos Queiroz, Iran walked successfully through from the World Cup qualification round and maintained that quality streak over the preparation matches before the major tournament, only surprisingly losing to Guinea back in March at Tehran. Last weekend, Iran overcame Trinidad and Tobago at São Paulo by 2-0, thanks to goals from Hajsafi and Ghoochannejhad. Carlos Queiroz has experimented with several different tactical approaches since he took the helm of the team. He started with a 4-3-3 with only one defensive midfielder, although a bit later he decided to change it for a more conservative 4-2-3-1 with two hard working midfielders “guarding” the team’s midfield line. The Portuguese head coach is a tactics' connoisseur and it will be interesting to see how Iran is sometimes able to quickly change their tactical approach throughout the match, as they easily go from 4-2-3-1 to 4-1-4-1.
For the match against Nigeria, Carlos Queiroz will certainly be able to count on all his players since there aren’t any names written at the medical chart by now.
As for Nigeria, the match against Iran will mark their fifth presence at World Cup tournaments. The Super Eagles are probably not enjoying the best of moments recently. After ending the World Cup qualification round unbeaten, Nigeria failed to extend their winning streak to the preparation matches. Nigeria failed to win any of their last four friendly matches, during which they also put up some fairly unconvincing performances.
After his arrival at the helm of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi implemented several changes in the team. He brought in several young players to the squad and he also adopted a new tactical style, fairly focused on attacking football.
Due to the team’s vast experience at major competitions, Nigeria might be considered favourites for the match; nevertheless, and judging by their recent positive record, one cannot rule out Carlos Queiroz' “refurbished” Iran.
Stats: W-1 L-1 D-3
Recent Form - WDDDL
Stats: W-1 L-1 D-3
Recent Form - WWWWL
Iran (4-2-3-1) - Davari - Montazeri - Sadeghi - Heydari - Hosseini - Dejagah - Nekounam - Teymourian - Pooladi - Hajsafi - Ghoochannejhad
Nigeria (4-3-3) - Enyeama, Ambrose, Omeruo, Oboabona, Elderson, Onazi, Mikel, Babatunde, Moses, Odemwingie, Emenike