Argentina vs. Iran: Tactical Preview of World Cup Group F Match

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 21, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: Sergio Aguero of Argentina kicks the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The first round of group-stage matches is in the books at the FIFA World Cup 2014, and now we turn our attention to the second lot.

Argentina and Iran are set for a Group F battle on Saturday.



Argentina started slowly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if it weren't for a Sead Kolasinac freak own goal in the third minute, they could well have gone in at half-time without a goal.


Alejandro Sabella responded with a formation change, switching to a 4-3-1-2 and freeing up Lionel Messi in the No. 10 role behind Sergio Aguero and substitute Gonzalo Higuain.

Messi scored the winner, and the manager has confirmed he'll be reverting back to his standard 4-3-3 formation for the game against Iran in order to break down the opposition quicker.

They'll need better showings from Aguero, and they'll hope Fernando Gago is fit to start; his passing brings purpose and direction to the front line.



Iran have accrued more points than England, Spain, Cameroon and Portugal put together after the first round of games. That alone has made the Persian Stars proud.


Thirty-one percent possession and one shot on target against Nigeria, per, are paltry statistics in general terms, but Carlos Queiroz will point to those as positives in the buildup to the next game.

Iran don't pretend to be anything they're not; they're fighters, they've come through adversity many couldn't imagine and they play in such a manner.

They'll sit deep, defend stoutly and counter-attack through three or four select players. Pace on the break and solidity in defence are their strengths.


2 Tactical Clashes

1. Low-block vs. Messi

When teams sit deep they can be tough to break down.

Nigeria found that out the hard way, with their lack of creativity forcing them into a situation whereby Efe Ambrose was crossing to Shola Ameobi, outnumbered, in the box from the 60th minute.

Argentina will rely on the genius of Messi, Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Co. to break the Persian Stars down in open play. There'll be no getting behind them—there's no space there—so dribbling head-on and turning between the lines are the only two routes to take.


2. Runners vs. Cover 

Argentina will start off with only a few players devoted to defending: likely Ezequiel Garay, Federico Fernandez and Javier Mascherano.

Iran have moved Ashkan Dejagah to a No. 10 role in the side to ensure they can pack as much pace into the XI as possible. That's a three vs. three or three vs. four on the counter-attack, and if their decision-making holds, they can work chances on goal.


Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.