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FIFA World Cup 2014 Match Preview Iran v/s Nigeria: Both teams desperate for win in tough group

Monday, 16 June 2014 - 11:12pm IST Updated: Monday, 16 June 2014 - 11:17pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

  • AFP photo

Iran and Nigeria will meet for the first time in history at a World Cup when the Arena da Baixada stadium opens it doors on Monday for the first match in Curitiba.

This is Nigeria's fifth World Cup, and the fourth for Iran, who qualified for the tournament thanks to their mean defence, which conceded just five goals in 10 Asian qualifying matches.

However, Iran have just won one match in the World Cup, against USA in 1998, and Nigeria have not won their last 8 World Cup games

"Iran's qualification was like a crossing through hell", admitted coach Carlos Queiroz after his team achieved their objective.

But Nigeria are not a team prone to gifting matches to the opposition and Stephen Keshi wants to show why they are the current champions of Africa.

The Super Eagles arrive in South America hoping to improve on their best return from a World Cup; they reached the round of 16 in 1994 and 1998. 

Iran do not habitually create many chances but their strength - aside from their mean defence - lies in their aerial threat, and it is this which laid the foundations for their qualification.

Queiroz's men go into Group F as certain underdogs but if they are able to keep things tight at the back and get the ball into the penalty area from the flanks, they are capable of confounding the doubters.

Nigeria, for their part, are not the same team which finished bottom of their World Cup group in South Africa in 2010. Keshi has built a strong, dangerous team who were deservedly crowned kings of their continent in 2013.

Keshi varies his system depending on the opponent, but usually sets his team up in a 4-3-3 formation or a 4-2-3-1 which can become as attacking as a 4-2-4 when the situation allows it.

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