Jun 16, 2014, 2:26 PM EDT
The match between Nigeria and Iran may be less anticipated than other matches, but it doesn’t change the drama of the World Cup, does it? Kicks off at 3pm ET;
Iran: Haghighi, Heydari, Haji Safi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Nekounam, Timotian, Montazeri, Ghoochannejad, Dejagah, Pooladi
Nigeria: Enyeama; Ambrose, Omeruo, Oboabona Oshaniwa; Onazi, Mikel; Musa, Azeez, Moses; Emenike
1. Nigeria can’t afford to be worrying about Argentina and Bosnia & Herzegovina? Head coach Stephen Keshi needs these three points, and his team cannot take them for granted.
“For the Iran game we have to be focused. We have to concentrate and do our job. We’re not going to take Iran lightly because they’re not going to take us lightly. So we have to go out with everything that we have. This squad is probably a year-plus old, it’s a new team. Most of the players are young.”
2. Does massive tournament underdog Iran have it in them? Will they be overwhelmed, or perhaps be too naive to be worried by the stage? Here’s Iran assistant coach, American Dan Gaspar (read more about him here).
“”We have worked incredibly hard,” Gaspar said. “We are not a team of stars, we are a team that is humble and willing to sacrifice and suffer to earn the best possible result with the abilities we have.”
Expectation: Nigeria will press Iran, which will hope to keep the space between them to a minimum. Tight-marking that could get boring if a goal doesn’t come early.
One blogger’s prediction: Nigeria eventually breaks Iran down, but Ashkan Dejagah finds a moment of brilliance on the counter. 3-1, Nigeria.
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