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World Cup: Argentina v Iran

 

Argentina Screenshot 2014-05-28 07.25.37

• Expected to change to a more orthodox 4-3-3 after switching from 5-3-2 at half time against Bosnia. • Higuaín and Gago fit and ready to start in place of Rodriguez and Campagnaro.
• Playing very close to their training camp should give Argentina the advantage of additional rest.

Unavailable

None

Doubtful

None

Returning

Palacio – ST/LW – Injury

Expected Team (4-3-3)

Team News

Argentina got off to a quick fire start against Bosnia but then struggled until a half time change of formation and double substitution allowed them to grow into the game much more.

It’s likely they will start with the 4-3-3 sacrificing a defender, likely to be Campagnaro, and bringing in Higuaín up front to allow Messi more freedom to collect the ball in deeper areas.

Gago should also start in place of Rodriguez, another change made by Alex Sabella at half time against Bosnia, providing Argentina with a more solid base and protection for the defence.

Palacio should return to the squad after his ankle injury, although he is only expected to make it as far as the bench.

Bench (from): Andújar GK, Orion GK, Basanta CB, Campagnaro CB, Demichelis CB, Biglia DM, Rodriguez RM/AM, Perez CM, A. Fernandez RW, Alvarez AM, Lavezzi LW/ST, Palacio ST/LW

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   Argentina did not move the ball quickly enough in the 1st half against Bosnia and struggled to break down a well organised defence. Iran showed they will defend in numbers against Nigeria and space is once again expected to be at a premium.
  •   Higuaín and Aguero will be needed to stretch the defence allowing Messi and Di Maria the space they need to pick the ball up and run at the back line.
  •   Rojo and Zabaleta may spend a lot of their time in the opponents half providing width and crosses into the middle. They must ensure they have cover or can get back if Iran break quickly.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

  •   Argentina will not need to travel far, with this game being played very close to their training base. They should be used to the conditions in Belo Horizonte more than anywhere else.
  •   A win for Argentina will already secure a place for them in the last 16. Anything other than this would be seen as a terrible result and they will want to build some form for the later stages.

 

Iran Screenshot 2014-05-28 08.33.30

• No fresh injuries, it would be a surprise to see them significantly alter their formation and line-up. • Did a good job of frustrating Nigeria but are unused to facing teams of the quality of Argentina.
• No pressure on them to get a positive result in a match they are expected to lose.

Unavailable

None

Doubtful

None

Returning

None

Expected Team (4-5-1)

Team News

With no injuries or suspensions picked up from the 0-0 draw with Nigeria they are expected to go into this game with a similar if not the same formation and line-up they fielded in the opening game.

The formation was a 4-5-1 with main creative player Dejagah starting on the left of midfield and they never really got him involved enough, when he did have the ball he showed sporadic flashes of what he can do but this was rare. Striker Ghoochannejhad was isolated far too much and had few chances in the danger areas.

Iran do have the option of using Shojaei or Jahanbakhsh to replace either Hajsafi or Heydari and supplement the attack but they are unlikely to risk going too offensive against Argentina.

Much of the focus heading into the opening match was on who would start in goal. Rather than Daniel Davari or Rahman Ahmadi they opted for Alireza Haghighi. He did have some nervous moments but overall the clean sheet is likely to see him retain his place for this game.

Bench (from): Ahmadi GK, Davari GK, Mahini RB, Beitashour RB, Alenemeh CB, Beikzadeh LB, Haghigi DM, Hadadifar CM, Jahanbakhsh RW, Rahmani AM, Shojeai AM/LW, Ansarifard ST

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   The Iranian defenders aren’t used to facing attacking players of the calibre that Argentina possess and having also had a lack of friendly or competitive matches against the elite international teams this will be a huge step up in quality to what Iran are used to.
  •   Against Nigeria they struggled to maintain possession often clearing the ball forward more in hope than with purpose. The striker Ghoochannejhad battled hard to hold the ball up but had a lack of support in and around him. More composure with the ball is a must in this game or they will be punished.
  •   Having coached in some of Europe’s top leagues the experience of Coach Queiroz if vital. His main strength is the attention to detail, and minimising the threat of Argentina will be the main aim.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

  •   Gaining a point and a clean sheet from their opening game was considered a big achievement by Iran, their target is to be in with at least a chance of making 2nd place when they face Bosnia in their final game.
  •   Playing against the big names in the Argentina side such as Messi is a massive deal to most of the Iran team, they will want to enjoy the occasion and hopefully leave an impression, possibly to earn a transfer to a big European League.

 

Group F – Game 2
Argentina (5) v Iran (32) Saturday 21st June 17:00 BST

Of all the teams in the 2nd Group Stage games, Argentina are the shortest price to win as they face an Iranian team of very limited capabilities who have probably achieved their best expectation for this tournament with a 0-0 result against Nigeria.

With Lionel Messi scoring arguably the goal of the tournament in the 2-1 defeat of Bosnia- Herzegovina, part of the weight of expectation has been lifted from his shoulders and he’s as short as 3.5 to score first against Iran and heavily odds-on to do so at any stage in the game. Messi has now scored 41 goals in 83 appearances for Argentina and scored twice in six, with three of those being hat- tricks. The goal against Bosnia ended a run of 10 games without scoring in major finals and only once has he scored in consecutive finals games.

It’s no surprise that against teams of Iran’s Bettorlogic ranking (30-40), Argentina have won their last 10 major finals matches. Five of those were by at least two goals, five without conceding and seven where they’ve led at the break (five with a 1-0 advantage). They’ve also won five of their last six (or since the 2006 World Cup) having won their previous match in the group stage with four of the five by at least two goals.

This is only the 11th game Iran have played in major finals with the sole success being the memorable 2-1 win against the USA in France ‘98. Six of the games were against Top 10 ranked sides and four of the five losses were by at least two goals but only one by three or more. Three of the games were goalless at half-time. Carlos Querioz is all too aware of the limitations of his side and against any sort of opposition goals have always been in short supply but defensively they keep their shape and may initially be able to resist one of the strongest attacks in the tournament.

Even giving up a couple of goals on the handicap, Argentina are still long odds-on and with only four of Argentina’s last 10 against teams like Iran in major finals having more than three goals, Over 3.5 Goals at evens doesn’t represent great value either. Better value we feel is for Argentina to lead at the break but by a slender margin. 

 

 

Recommendation:

Argentina to lead 1-0 at Half-Time at $3.10 with Screenshot 2014-06-06 12.59.13

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