Fifa World Cup 2014: Nigeria versus Iran preview

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Curitiba (Brazil), June 16: Nigeria will take on Iran in Group F in the 2014 Fifa World Cup at Arena da Baixada here on Monday. Both will look to a positive beginning to their World Cup campaign to remain in the run for the Top 16. Two-time champions Argentina and European dark horses Bosnia-Herzegovina are the other two teams in the group.

FIFA RANKINGS: NIGERIA 45; IRAN 43

Nigeria, who made it to the second round in the World Cup debut in 1994, will be playing in their fifth World Cup finals but failed to make the cut beyond the group stage in 2002 and 2010.

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The Nigerians have been plagued by rift between the players and the country's footfall federation over appearance fees and the team also lacks much experience. Nigeria haven't won any of their last eight World Cup outings, which makes it the team with the longest drought among the 32 participants in this World Cup.

Nigeria haven't won any of their last 8 World Cup games

The Super Eagles will bank on Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses for a good start against Iran. They will, however, miss Elderson Echiejile, who has been ruled out of the tournament because of a hamstring injury.


Iran, on the other hand, will be making their fourth appearance in the World Cup. The Asian team, which made its debut at the highest stage in 1974, never went past the first round and have won only one out of their nine World Cup games so far. They beat the United States 2-1 in the 1998 edition in France.

Nigeria and Iran have met only once (in 1998) and the former won the match 1-0.

Iran have no new injury concerns and will look up to Reza Ghoochannejhad and Askhan Dejagah for a good start. The team will particularly look forward to utilize the expertise of Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, a former Real Madrid manager who has helped a team qualify for the World Cup for the third time (Iran in 2014 after South Africa in 2002 and Portugal in 2010).

Argentina defeated a spirited Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in their opening match on Sunday.

The match will start at 12.30 am IST.

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