Argentina bring the strongest forward line to the tournament in the shape of Messi, Higuain and Aguero. They qualified as champions of their nine team group with 32 points from 16 games – 9 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses. They have won 5, drawn 1 and lost 3 of their last 10 matches. Unsurprisingly, they hit the net 35 times in the 16 qualifying matches.
A huge positive for Argentina coming into this tournament is the excellent form Lionel Messi has shown since they appointed Alejandro Sabella as team manager a couple of years ago. Messi scored ten times in qualifying.
Argentina were champions in 1978 and 1986, have been runner up twice, in 1930 and 1990 and quarter finalists a further four times including in the last two tournaments.
This is a weak group and Argentina should qualify with ease, scoring plenty of goals in the process.
Bosnia qualified for their first World Cup in style, winning eight of their 10 matches, scoring 30 goals and conceding just 6. Man City’s Edin Dzeko scored ten times in those ten games and in Dzeko (33 goals in 60 games) and Stuttgarts’s Vedad Ibisevic (20 in 53) they have a formidable forward line.
Bosnia played Argentina in November of 20123 in a friendly and lost 2-0.
Nigeria have won 4, drawn 4 and lost 2 of their last 10 matches and they qualified quite easily for this tournament with wins against teams such as Ethiopia, Malawi and Kenya. Those wins are tricky to assess but it’s safe to say that the Super Eagles are not anywhere near as strong as they were in the 90’s when they reached number 5 in the FIFA World rankings.
Nigeria faced Argentina in the first round of the last World Cup, losing 1-0.
They’ll be relying on John Obi Mikel in midfield and Emmanuel Emmenike up front and they are unlikely to be good enough to get them out of the group.
As with all the African teams the under 2.5 and 1.5 goals options are always worth a look in their games. In the Confederation of Africa (CAF) section of qualifying there were 365 goals in 152 matches for an average of 2.34 goals per game.
Nigeria made the round of 16 in 1994 and 1998, did not win a match in 2002 and 2010 and failed to qualify in 2006.
The betting markets should be watched very closely on games involving the Nigerians as it’s no secret that they don’t mind manipulating a result or two.
Iran qualified above South Korea in their section so should not be total pushovers here as the $8 (Unibet) to qualify suggests they might be.
They have lost only 4 times in their last 22 games and have won 7, drawn 2 and lost 1 of their last 10.
Iran have been at three World Cups with the most recent in 2006. They scored one goal in 1998, their only goal at the finals.
Straight forecast Argentina/Bosnia $2.40 with
Nigeria to finish bottom of Group F at $4.20 with
Argentina to be top tournament scorers at $4.50 with or