Preview

World Cup pre-game: Argentina vs. Iran

Argentina can lock up Group F with a win over Iran. And if they win this group they would go on to play the runner-up of Group E. Iran wants to get out of the group stage for their first time ever.

Iran looking to score their first goal in Brazil

Lionel Messi has his first goal of his World Cup career. Now, will he put his stamp on this tournament? (Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Group F: Argentina vs. Iran

  • 12 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 21 
  • CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup

What’s at stake

Argentina can lock up Group F with a win over Iran. And if they win this group they would go on to play the runner-up of Group E.

Iran wants to get out of the group stage for their first time ever.

Impact players

Argentina: Lionel Messi. He’s diminutive and superlative. Messi scares his opposition every time he steps on the pitch.

Iran: Reza Ghoochannejhad. He had a few good chances against Nigeria, and wants to find the net for his team.

What to watch for

It’s true that Argentina beat newcomers Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in their first match. But the South American squad didn't dazzle the way many thought they would.

Argentina is more than Messi. Iran has to shut down this fast-moving side if they are to have a chance in this match.

These teams have very little history with each other. Their only previous head-to-head resulted in a 1-1 draw in 1977.

They said it

“It was an even game right from the start, though the second half was a little more entertaining.” — Alejandro Sabella, Argentina manager speaking to FIFA.com.

“We are not celebrating a great day, we are not celebrating the draw, we are just celebrating our work.” — Iran’s manager Carlos Queiroz explaining why he applauded his team after a 0-0 draw with Nigeria.

The big number

37 — The total ball possession for Iran in their draw with Nigeria. This is one of the lowest possession numbers in the World Cup so far. Team Melli, as Iran is known, will have to be much more effective with the ball against Argentina.

Obligatory fun fact

Exactly 16 years ago — on June 21, 1998 — Iran won their first World Cup game by beating the Americans in France.

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