World Cup 2014: Argentina v Iran

ARG 1 – 0 IRA: One of the world’s best settled this evenly matched contest in Belo Horizonte between an energetic Iran and a floundering Argentina who have so far failed to show any real signs they can win this tournament. Despite Argentina retaining over seventy percent of the possession and consistently putting Iran under pressure, Iran actually fashioned the better chances overall and voracious Charlton forward Reza Ghoochannejhad had an excellent chance saved by Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero. If that had gone in it would have been no more than the battling Iran deserved. Iran’s defensive resilience was unwavering and their counter-attacking play was threatening with Ashkan Dejagah and Masoud Shojaei impressing throughout. Argentina were consistently thwarted by some world class saves from the terrific Alireza Haghighi in the Iran goal. The Rubin Kazan goalkeeper, who has never played for his Russian club in two years and only played a handful of games on loan for Portuguese second devision side S.C. Covilhã this season, is a clear talent – a reflex save from Higuaín and a one-handed stop from Aguero were top saves. But cometh the moment, cometh the man. In the second minute of injury time at the end of the game, Lionel Messi controlled a pass from Lavezzi then curled a terrific strike into the far corner of the net. Iran were devastated and Argentina celebrated wildly. It was tough to take even watching. It was one piece of individual brilliance against a superb team effort. Football is like that sometimes and what is fantastic is seeing how those teams pick themselves up and again come out fighting. Iran have really impressed me so far this tournament and I really hope they get something against Bosnia and Herzegovina in their last game of the group. Argentina know they have been less than convincing so far and with Sabella tinkering with the formation once again they need to find consistency in team selection and style of play, All eyes on them in the knockout stages, they are very much beatable.

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