While it wasn’t the dominant start the Argentinians hoped for, filled with loads and goals and fancy passing plays, you have to give credit to their Bosnian opponents. Bosnia plays solid defence for most of the ninety minutes, and are now set up well to advance alongside Argentina in this year’s World Cup. For Argentina though, it was an outing that left more to be desired. For all of this team’s flair and talent, perhaps playing Iran will bring it out in them. Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, and Gonzalo Higuain all have high hopes for this year’s World Cup, and bank on them putting on a show Saturday afternoon in Brazil.
While many figured Iran were going to be the undisputed cellar dwellers of this group prior to the tournament, they turned in a solid outing against Nigeria in their first match. They were solid when they didn’t possess the ball, and limited the time and space of Nigeria’s speedy forwards. Though they still have an uphill battle to qualify, it was an ecouraging start. Playing the Argentinans however will be an entirely different story. Iran does have a heralded defensive record, and their 4-5-1 formation will aim to frustrate the skill and speed of their opponents, but it remains to be seen if that plan can be carried out effectively against Argentina’s abundance of world-class talent. Overall, we’re 7-3-1 with all selections (including bonuses) here at The Sports Geek, and we’ll look to net you another winner as we inch towards the knockout stages.
Argentina vs. Iran Betting Odds:
Argentina (-900) / Draw (+900) / Iran (+1800)
Over 3 (-120) / Under 3 (+100)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Argentina vs. Iran Prediction:
As you can tell from the betting odds, this is expected to be a one-sided affair. While Iran has fared quite well in qualifying and their first match, taking on one of the pre-tournament favourites will be no easy tasks. Many of the Argentinians have their eyes set on goal-scoring records and individual achievements, and this is a squad that will look to put many goals behind the Iranian keeper on Saturday afternoon.
Though the odds are steep on Argentina, and their -1.5 handicap, more value lies on the Over 3 in this fixture. Sure we’ve heard lots of great things about Iran coach Carlos Queiroz and his ability to limit the talent and scoring prowess of superior opposition, but he hasn’t prepared for a team like Argentina. Qualifying in Asia cannot prepare Iran for the onslaught they’ll face on Saturday, and expect the skilled Argentinians to put on a clinic in Brazil.
Expect Gonzalo Higuain to start up front as a link to both Messi and Aguero. Argentina looked sluggish on the attack in their first half against Bosnia, but Higuain’s appearance in the second half had the Argentinians firing on all cylinders. Look for Higuain to play a crucial role generating chances against Iran. It’ll likely be a super-offensive 4-3-3 formation for Argentina, with the ball quickly being played up top, testing the defense of Iran whenever they get the opportunity to.
Iran has a very cohesive and compact back-four. They don’t give up much and are relentless pursuers of the ball. This is why width will be key to the Argentinians scoring lots of goals in this match. Expect both Argentinian fullbacks, Zabaleta and Rojo to push up whenever they can, swinging in dangerous balls for Higuain in the centre. Iran does have a good defensive record, but they haven’t taken on the calibre of a squad like Argentina. Expect the talent, flair, and speed of the Argentinians to overwhelm Iran, particularly in the midfield. In a tournament where goal-differential is crucial, the Argentinians won’t take their foot off the gas in this one.
Look for Argentina to put on a show Saturday afternoon in Brazil. This is a talented offensive group that is primed for a big-time breakthrough. They’ve seen Germany and France put on healthy goal-scoring displays, and this is their opportunity to do just that in front of their thousands of fans who have flocked to Brazil. Argentina should be able to get to 3 or 4 just by themselves, and perhaps with their own defensive lapses, Iran can even snag one too. Bank on lots of goals Saturday in Brazil.
PICK = Over 3 (-120)