Argentina vs Iran will take place at the Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte on Saturday, June 21 (9:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM local time). The referee for the match will be the Serbian Milorad Mazic, the one who showed Pepe the red card in the clash between Germany and Portugal.
Argentina won the first match, 2-1 against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they would qualify to the round of 16 if they defeat Iran on Saturday because the match between Iran and Nigeria on June 16 finished in a tie.
Moreover, if Nigeria tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina win, then they would finish at the first position of Group F even if they lose against Nigeria on June 25.
Although the Albiceleste won the three points against Bosnia-Herzegovina, the team didn’t leave a good impression, and they’ll try to do better against Iran.
In the first match, manager Alejandro Sabella chose a 5-3-2 scheme, but since the team wasn’t doing well he switched to 4-3-3 at half-time, substituting midfielder Maxi Rodriguez for Fernando Gago and defender Hugo Campagnaro for striker Gonzalo Higuain.
The 4-3-3 is the usual scheme for Argentina since they’ve been playing that way in most matches before the World Cup, and it’s also the favorite of the offensive players (Messi, Higuain, Agüero, Di Maria) because it suits them well.
Surely, Sabella thinks about the 5-3-2 formation for a match against a big opponent, since the 4-3-3 doesn’t give many defensive guarantees if midfielders and strikers don’t came back to defend after they miss the ball in attack. For the moment, it seems that the boss will continue with the 4-3-3, at least against Iran.
Inter striker Rodrigo Palacio returned to normal training on Tuesday after leaving behind an ankle injury that he got in a friendly match against Trinidad and Tobago a few weeks before the World Cup.
On the other hand, Iran tied against Nigeria 0-0, in one of the most boring matches of the World Cup so far. They played with a 4-5-1 formation with most players from their local league. Perhaps the most known player who plays in Europe is Fulham midfielder Ashkan Dejagah.
In that match, the positive thing for Team Melli is that they defended in a great way. Nigeria had 63 percent of the possession but they hadn’t an important goal threat.
Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz – who was born in Mozambique – stated that he won’t continue in charge in Iran national team after his contract finishes at the end of the World Cup.
The former Real Madrid and Portugal national team manager told to the press that: “I will end my relationship [with Iran] after the World Cup. There was a moment when Iran proposed that I stay, and they still are showing that they want me here. But there is not enough support from the government, and it’s clear that the interest in continuing doing the job we have been doing developing the national squads… is over due to financial conditions.”
Queiroz also said that it will be very difficult for his team to beat Argentina when he was asked about that match: “It will require a miracle since Argentina is one of the best teams in the world and also they have one day of rest more than we do.”
Charlton Athletic striker Reza Ghoochannejhad also spoke about the match against Argentina: “We have to enjoy it and follow the coach’s instructions to the letter. We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose in this match. Argentina are among the favorites this year, while the same can’t be said for us. All the pressure will be on their shoulders and we will have to show our resilience, like against Nigeria.”
Even if they lose, Iran would still have a chance of qualifying for the round of 16 in their last match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 25, and they would depend on themselves if Bosnia beats Nigeria on Saturday.
Argentina and Iran played only one match in all history. In March 1977, one year before Argentina won their first World Cup, they tied 1-1 at Santiago Berbabeu stadium, in a short friendly tournament between those teams, Algeria and Real Madrid, played for celebrating Real Madrid’s 75th anniversary.
The match was defined in a penalty shoot-out in which Argentina won and played the final against Real Madrid, losing by 1-0 with a goal scored by Vicente del Bosque, who is now the coach of Spain national team.
Argentina vs Iran Prediction
This match will be a very tough one for Iran. Argentina is very superior and should defeat Iran. Even when Team Melli had a great defensive performance against Nigeria, it will be almost impossible for them to stop Argentinian attack, one of the best in the World Cup.
If Argentinean players don’t underestimate the match, they should get the victory by at least two goals.
Argentina 3 – 0 Iran
Argentina vs Iran Television
The Argentina vs Iran match will be televised in the USA on ESPN3 (stream) and Univision Deportes at 9:00 AM Pacific.