Argentina Player Ratings v Iran: Manchester City players struggle

Quaresma and Zabaleta Portugal Argentina

A late long-range goal from Lionel Messi ensured Argentina beat Iran 1-0, but Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta played poorly in Belo Horizonte.

Many would have expected a comfortable Argentina win when they played Iran in Group F. That was not how it turned out, though, as only a 91st-minute strike from Lionel Messi saved the South Americans from an embarrassing 0-0 draw with an Iran team who were outstanding.

Here are the player ratings for Argentina:

Sergio Romero - 7

The goalkeeper was tested more than he would have hoped, but he did everything asked of him with some good saves, especially one from a Ghoochanneijhad header late on.

Marcos Rojo - 6

Tried to attack down the left wing, but by doing that, he didn't keep to his defensive duites as many of Iran's best attacks were down the left from where he was missing.

Ezequiel Garay - 5

Garay was poor today. He played well in the first match but missed two good chances with his head, as well as struggled to keep control of Iran's forwards and their movement.

Federico Fernandez - 6

Did better than his centre-back partner, but wasn't outstanding so Argentina's defensive woes might just be exploited in the latter stages of the tournament.

Pablo Zabaleta - 6

The Manchester City full-back is normally brilliant going forward, but he struggled with his final ball today and was caught forward far too often by Iran.

Javier Mascherano - 7

The former Liverpool midfielder was great in Argentina's midfield and was often the catalyst for everything the South Americans did.

Fernando Gago - 6

Created a great chance for Gonzalo Higuain in the first half with a superb through-ball, but other than that, he found it difficult to find space in Iran's midfield.

Angel di Maria - 5

His final ball today was woeful. Found himself in great positions so often in the match, but his crosses and shots were not up to a good enough standard.

Gonzalo Higuain - 6

Missed a chance in the first half when shooting from close range at the keeper; other than that created little and struggled with the Iranian defence.

Lionel Messi - 8

Much talk before this World Cup regarding Messi was how he has struggled in the Argentina shirt, but that argument is slowly being proved wrong in this World Cup. The Barcelona forward scored his second superb individual goal of the tournament - Argentina look a poor team without him.

Sergio Aguero - 5

The City striker struggled again for Argentina, perhaps because he knows that he isn't the main striker. Was missing throughout in this clash when his country needed him. 

Subs: 

Ezequiel Lavezzi - 6    

Came on for Aguero after 76 minutes, made a positive impact in what he did when he found space and possession.           

Rodrigo Palacio - 5            

Come on for Higuain after 76 minutes, had a good header that went just wide of the near post.

Lucas Biglia - N/A Come on for Di Maria in the 93rd minute so made no impact on the match.

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