Argentina’s free flowing attack should be on full display against an Iran side intent on defending. Catch the action at 12 noon ET.
Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Garay; Fede Fernández, Rojo; Gago, Mascherano, Di María; Messi, Higuaín, Agüero
Iran: Haghighi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Montazeri, Pooladi, Shojaei, Nekounam, Teymourian, Dejagah, Ghoochannejhad, Hajsafi
Will reverting back to the Fantastic Foursome make Argentina fun again?
In their first group game against Bosnia, Alejandro Sabella sent his side out in a 3-5-2 formation, featuring five defenders rather than the much-hyped four-prong attack. A Bosnia own-goal put Argentina in front, but it was the Dragons that controlled most of the play during the first half. Argentina were noticeably better in the second half, after Gonzalo Higuaín came on to join Ángel di María, Sergio Agüero, and, of course, Lionel Messi. It’s the lineup Sabella is going for from the start this time around, so let’s hope it provides plenty of entertainment.
Will Iran’s defense hold out?
Coached by Carlos Queiroz, a man well known for favoring a defensive mindset, Iran was always going to be one of the – dare we say it? – duller sides to watch at this World Cup. Sure enough, they held Nigeria to a goalless draw in their first game. But Argentina’s got a little more bang up top than Nigeria, so Iran will need to be careful not to put a toe out of place. If they can master Bosnia’s art of triple-teaming Messi, they may come away with a point. Or they may simply come away thankful that they kept Argentina to two goals. Or, who knows, they may be yet another surprise in a tournament already packed with them.
Iran do their best to hold firm and keep out Argentina’s potent offense, but Sabella’s tactical shift should mean there’s no way of stopping his fantastic foursome. Expect goals!
One blogger’s prediction
That this one will be much closer to what we expected from Argentina from the start. It should be a comfortable win for Messi & Co.