Argentina v Iran - Match preview: Man City man looking to shine

Segio Aguero Argentina

Many believe this will be a comfortable win for Argentina, but Iran proved in their draw against Nigeria they can frustrate teams.

To be played on Saturday 21st June 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Estadio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte.

Odds: Argentina 1/10, Draw 15/2, Iran 25/1

Preview & injury news

Argentina have no new injury worries for this match in Belo Horizonte, apart from Rodrigo Palacio, but the Inter Milan striker may still be passed fit as he is to undergo a late fitness test before this Group F clash.

Iran still have striker Sardar Azmoun out of the match, who also missed their opening World Cup clash against Nigeria, that ended 0-0. 

Argentina will be feeling confident going into this clash, and will look to guarantee qualification with a victory many feel a certainty. Carlos Queiroz will make sure his Iran side will have 10 players behind the ball, and look to frustrate the outstanding talents Argentina have at their disposal. Argentina struggled to break down a resilient Bosnia & Heregovina defence in their opener, and it wasn't until a brilliant individual goal from Lionel Messi to look as though they had arrived in this years World Cup.

Iran may not have the same household names as Bosnia, but they proved they can defend in their opener by restricting a strong Nigeria side to a 0-0 draw. They will look to do the same against Argentina on Saturday, on a stage where many of these players will be looking to prove their abilities to many club scouts from around the world.

Key stats

Argentina have won five of their last six World Cup games, with the 4-0 defeat against Germany in 2010 the only exception.

Iran's only previous World Cup game against a South American side was a 4-1 defeat against Peru in 1978.

Iran have won only one of their ten games at the World Cup (D3 L6), against USA in 1998 (2-1).

5 players to watch

Lionel Messi - He may have struggled to perform on the World's biggest stages in previous tournaments, but he arrived with his usual class against Bosnia on Sunday. Collecting the ball from the right, cutting to his preferred left and finishing brilliantly in off the post to secure Argentina got off to a winning start. Iran may be star struck at first, and that is understandable, but they will need to stop him if they are to get something.

Ashkan Dejagah - The Fulham midfielder is key to Iran's attacks. He struggled against Nigeria, only completing 53% of his passes and created very few chances for his teammates. He will need to play the match of his life against Argentina to create anything as he will get very few chances to attack and when he does, he will need to be very clinical if Iran are to score.

Sergio Aguero - The Man City man may have failed to score against Bosnia in his first match in the World Cup, but signs were there that he and Messi could form a deadly partnership up front together. No doubt, Aguero will be looking at this match and hoping to get himself on the scoresheet in this World Cup, a great opportunity to give himself confidence heading into the latter stages.

Jalal Hosseini - He may not be a well known in Europe, but the 32 year-old defender Hosseini is the man tasked with organising Iran's defence. He plays centre-back for Persepolis in the Iran premier league, and has earned himself 86 caps for his country. Facing a front three of Messi, Aguero and Higuain is quite a task for anyone, but Hosseini will be the man Iranian fans look to in hoping he can keep them quiet, if he does, Iran might just have a chance for a famous World Cup shock.

Gonzalo Higuain - Although the Napoli striker didn't start for Argentina in their opener, he did come off the bench to partner Aguero and Messi in the second half, a tactical change that worked. He has a great chance for him to cement a starting role in the forward position for Argentina. 

Last time they met

Argentina 1-1 Iran, Madrid, March 1977.

Form Guide

Argentina Form

Iran Form

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