Saturday, 21st June
Argentina vs Iran in Belo Horizonte.
Argentina and Iran have never met in the World Cup Finals before.
When the two teams met in Madrid, back in 1977, the friendly match
ended in a (1:1) draw.
Argentina will be through to the Second Round if they win this
Like waves crashing on a sea wall, Argentina kept Iran under almost
Alireza Haghighi came out well to smother the ball at the feet of
Gonzalo Higuain in the 13th minute and received treatment for his bravery.
Angel di Maria charged out of the Argentine half after an Iranian
corner, in the 18th minute, then sent the ball out to the left. Montazeri put a stop to
Higuain and it was back to the drawing board.
Angel di Maria moved forward for Argentina once more and combined with
Higuain to set up Aguero; who was foiled by Alireza Haghighi.
Iran weren't without their forays into the Argentina half but most of
the action was around their own penalty area; Ezequiel Garay heading over the bar, in the
36th minute, from a Lionel Messi free-kick.
Shortly before the break, Iran had another chance from an Ashkan
Dejagah corner; headed over the bar by Jalal Hosseini.
Half-time: Argentina 0 - Iran 0
At the start of the second half, Iran missed a good chance to score
through Reza and then had a close penalty call turned down.
Iran started to show belief that they had a chance and even
demonstrated skills normally reserved for their South American opponents as the continued
to ask questions of Argentina's defence.
The home support were excited and started to get behind Iran.
Again, in the 67th minute, Sergio Romero had to touch Ashkan Dejagah's
superb header over the bar; after the Iranian muscled in front of Pablo Zabaleta, to get
to the ball first.
Angel di Maria tried to get back into the rhythm he showed in the
first-half, while Messi continued in his cameo role.
By the 82nd minute, Iran had all their red shirts back and played with
determination to keep Argentina from scoring.
Defending a corner in the 86th minute, Iran again showed great
enthusiasm in the counter attack and Reza Ghoochannejhad may have felt a little unlucky
after holding off two defenders and getting his shot in from the left; perhaps his legs
All in all, a terrific, spirited display by the Iranians; undone during the start of
injury time when Lionel Messi was left with enough space on the right edge of the area, to
push the ball to the right of his defender and get his foot around the to win the match
Just when Messi looked out of the game, he sparked into life and
displayed a masterclass move to wrong-foot his defender and curl the ball beyond the reach
The Route to the 2014 World Cup Final looks
good from here.
Final Score: Argentina 1 - Iran 0
1:0 - Lionel Messi (90+1 mins)
1-Sergio Romero; 4-Pablo Zabaleta, 2-Ezequiel Garay, 17-Federico Fernandez, 16-Marcos
Rojo; 5-Fernando Gago, 14-Javier Mascherano, 7-Angel di Maria; 20-Sergio Aguero, 10-Lionel
Messi, 9-Gonzalo Higuain.
12-Alireza Haghighi; 15-Pejhman Montazeri, 4-Jalal Hosseini, 5-Amir Hossein Sadeqi,
23-Mehrdad Pooladi; 7-Masoud Shojaei, 14-Andranik Teymourian, 6-Javad Nekounam, 3-Ehsan
Hajsafi, 21-Ashkan Dejagah; 16-Reza Ghoochannejhad.
Referee: Milorad Mazic - Serbia
2 yellow cards:
52 mins - Javad Nekounam (Iran)
72 mins - Masoud Shojaei (Iran)
Nigeria vs Bosnia-Herzegovina
2014 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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