Given that Iran is partly responsible for wasting two hours of everyone’s Monday, it’s about time this team gets their come-uppance in the form of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Messi, di Maria, Higuain, and Aguero). While everything about this World Cup tournament has been anything but predictable, Group F has pretty much been set in stone; Bosnia and Herzegovina and Argentina will advance out of the group.
Despite being heavy underdogs, Iran has played far from admirably, showing hesitation to attack in their match against Nigeria. Packing 10 players behind the ball, Iran neglected to (or failed to) string a counter attack and were looking to settle for a draw. Chances are Team Melli will be looking to pull the same stunt against Argentina and hope for an upset victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
La Albiceleste showed some rust against the Bosnians last Sunday, struggling to create open chances against the Eastern European side. However, an own goal by Kolasinac and a distance strike by Lionel Messi gave Argentina a 2-1 victory. With the hardest match out of the way, Argentina can take a breather and know that their path to the round of 16 is secure once they give Iran the thrashing that awaits.
Let the goalfest begin.
Projected Starting XI
Iran: A. Haghighi, Montazeri, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Pooladi, Timotian, Nekonam, Haji Safi, Heydari, Ghoochannejhad, Dejagah
Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, F. Fernandez, Garay, Rojo, A. Fernandez, Gago, Mascherano, di Maria, Messi, Aguero.
Keys for Iran
- Park the Bus and try to counter attack
- Don’t hold the ball and pass around aimlessly. Unlike Nigeria, Argentina has the talent and creativity to expose bush league tactics like that.
- Improve support around Javad Nekonam. The team must improve linkup play around their central midfielder.
Keys for Argentina
- Attack and recover. Given the speed and ball control Argentina has, La Albiceleste must relentlessly attack the Iranian defense. Be patient as well to find the best opportunities. They are a superior team and shouldn’t be afraid to create a slow build up on the attack to their advantage.
- Press forward and leave the Iranian midfield shell-shocked by the abundance of Argentinians pushing forward.
- Stay disciplined in the back. Reza Ghoochannejhad is still relatively a dangerous striker.
- Nekonam vs Mascherano – If Mascherano shuts down Nekonam, he has stifled Iran’s offense as well.
- Ghoochannejhad vs Garay + Fernandez – Ghoochannejhad will need to be patient when dealing with speedy center backs Ezekiel Garay and Federico Fernandez. Although his chances at touching the ball will be few, he must plan three moves ahead in order to find space to get a shot off.
- Messi + Aguero vs Iran – the attacking duo will see 10 Iranian players crowding the box to deny them any chance at goal. That’s a battle worth seeing.
Young Kim: 4-0 Argentina, it’ll take two goals in the first half to dishearten this Iran team and put them in their place. Iran has never faced a team as talented as Argentina, and chances are that their faith in the 10-men wall will falter after Messi gives Iran a clinical lesson about soccer.
Drew Thompson: 3-0 Argentina. Argentina just have far too much quality in their front players for Iran to ever dream of getting a result in this match – it’s just a matter of how many goals they lose by
Tags: World Cup