World Cup Preview: Group F
As we continue in our World Cup Preview, we reach a group with two teams that have little to no World Cup experience and a pair of teams that know each other quite well. In Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran, we see two teams that might just be happy to be here as they have very little history of success in the World Cup– and none of Bosnia. Argentina and Nigeria have met quite a few times since 2005. They met in the final of 2005 U-20 Netherlands World Cup, the gold medal match of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and in group play of the 2010 South Africa World Cup. Even though Argentina won each contest, Nigeria provided their fair share of headaches to Argentina. So how will Group F turnout?
Let’s break each team down and find out:
Argentina- What else can be said about Argentina that hasn’t already been said? They have a perennial Player of the Year candidate in Lionel Messi leading the way. They also have Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain to add punch to the great Argentine attack. The only team they have a history with in the group, they have never lost to and they also face a team with no history of World Cup success and another no World Cup history at all. This group should be a bit of a cakewalk for Argentina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina- A country that has never experienced a team representing them in a World Cup before this year– only experience they had was they were still a part of Yugoslavia– Bosnia is looking to make a big splash in this year’s World Cup. Believe me when I say that simply qualifying for the tournament is a huge splash to make. Led by Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisevic, and Miralem Pjanic, Bosnians everywhere are excited to see what their selection can do against the Likes of Argentina and Nigeria. While their lack of experience may hinder them this time around, I don’t see this squad being an easy matchup for anyone. They may surprise someone in this tournament.
Iran- They bring Reza Ghoochannejhad, Javad Nekounam, and Karim Ansari to attempt to lead the Iranians into the knockout phase of the World Cup. This is a selection that has had no history of success in the world’s biggest tournament. They have some ability to give any of their opponents a run for their money but may not be able to win a single game in group play.
Nigeria- The African selection is led by John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, and Victor Obinna. Mikel has been the top player on the three squads that faced off against the Messi-led Argentinians in those three meetings since 2005, so Argentina knows his abilities quite well. If their is a team from Africa that can make some serious noise in this World Cup, it is Nigeria. Most of their stars are in their prime, and they come packed with deadly speed– a challenge for any defense to defend against.
Best Match- Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Nigeria: Could decide the second team to advance to the knockout stage.
Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Argentina 9 pts
2. Nigeria 6 pts
3. Bosnia- Herzegovina 3 pts
4. Iran 0 pts