Argentina would be the happiest among the teams which have been put together in Group F. The teams that would be trying to enter the knockout stage of the competition from the Group are Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria.
This should be one of the easiest groups to call in the World cup but always expect the unexpected in this tournament. Argentina are currently ranked 3rd in the world and the next best team in the group is Bosnia and Herzegovina who are ranked 16th and would be taking part in their first World Cup. Iran are ranked 49th and Nigeria are ranked 33rd in the world.
Argentina topped the CONMEBOL qualification for the World Cup, conceding only 15 goals and losing twice in the process. Currently managed by Alejandro Sabella, who would be managing Argentina for the first time in a World Cup, the team is littered with stars like Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain and Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria. The team would be looking to better their quarterfinal exit in the last World Cup at the cost of Germany who blanked them 4-0.
Bosnia and Herzegovina would be making their first ever appearance in the World Cup. The team topped their UEFA qualifying group ahead of teams like Greece and Slovakia and conceded only 6 goals in their 10 qualifying games while scoring 30. Susic, the Bosnia and Herzegovina head coach led the team to their highest ever ranking of 13th and with stars like Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic, Roma’s Miralem Pjanic and Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko, he will be hoping that the team make it out of the group.
Iran would be making their appearance in the World cup again after missing out in 2010. At the helm of the team is former Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz who guided them to finish top of their Asian qualifying group ahead of South Korea. Ranked 37th in the world, the Iranian team has had a phase under Queiroz where more of their European based players have been called up into the squad. Players like Ashkan Dejagah of Fulham and Daniel Davari of Eintracht Braunshweig would be leading the European charge for Iran.
This would be Nigeria’s 2nd World Cup in a row after the disappointment of missing out on the 2006 World Cup. Nigeria beat Ethiopia in a 2 legged playoff to qualify for the World Cup. Led by the Lille goalkeeper Victor Enyeama, the team would be looking to do better than their last performance in a World cup having finished last in their group in 2010. Players like Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and Chelsea’s Victor Moses will be hoping the Super Eagles fly in this tournament.
Big Matches in the Group
Nigeria vs. Argentina: Argentina has won every time they have faced Nigeria, winning all the 3 games by the odd goal. The final match day would be big as apart from Argentina it’s not a surety as to who will come 2nd in the group and with Argentina doing well in the first couple of games, it could be the Super Eagles who take on a side who want to protect themselves for the next round.
Bosnia & Herzegovina vs. Iran: The World cup would not be the same without last day drama. Argentina is by far the strongest team and this match would be the one which decides which team is to qualify for the next round. The Europeans could slip up considering this is their first World Cup, although they have a better team than the Iranian’s. It’s the world cup, so nothing should be taken for granted.
Players to watch out for
Lionel Messi : Could there have been another name? Lionel Messi might not have had the best season for Barcelona, ending without any trophies but has still managed 41 goals in an injury plagued season. Messi would be hopeful of finally lifting the trophy with Argentina to complete his trophy collection, the only thing missing is the World Cup.
Edin Dzeko: Dzeko recently won the Premier League with Manchester city and is the spearhead for the Bosnian attack having scored 33 goals in just 60 games for his country. He is one of the best finishers in the game and will certainly be at his best to help his country make it out of the group.
Argentina – 7
Bosnia & Herzegovina – 6
Nigeria – 2
Iran – 1
Read about the other groups here!