10 Key Factors That Will Decide FIFA World Cup 2014 Group F

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentJune 23, 2014

10 Key Factors That Will Decide FIFA World Cup 2014 Group F

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    Group F at this summer's World Cup will come to its conclusion on Wednesday.

    Argentina and Nigeria face off in Porto Alegre, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran meet in Salvador.

    Argentina have already booked their place in the last 16. Bosnia-Herzegovina have been knocked out.

    Nigeria could still win the group if they surprise Argentina, and Iran could still qualify with a win over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    FIFA might yet have to draw lots to decide whether Nigeria or Iran progress, should they finish level on points, goal difference and goals scored, which is still a possibility.

    Here's a list of 10 factors that will determine what happens in Group F. 

Will Argentina Field a Full-Strength Team?

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    Lionel Messi's last-minute winner against Iran was a wonderful World Cup moment that guaranteed Argentina's place in the last 16.

    It means Alejandro Sabella can rest players against Nigeria ahead of the knockout rounds if he wants to.

    Either way, with quality players like Ezequiel Lavezzi waiting in the wings, that won't be much comfort to the Africans. 

Who Do Argentina Want in the Last 16?

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    Group F is paired with Group E in the second round. Therefore, Argentina, Nigeria or Iran will draw France, Ecuador, Switzerland or Honduras after the group stage.

    Argentina will hope to avoid France in the last 16 by making sure they win the group, which means they will do everything possible to avoid a surprise defeat to Nigeria. 

Will Argentina's Defence Stand Up?

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    With Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria, Argentina have got perhaps the most fearsome forward line of any team in Brazil

    However, their defence has looked vulnerable, especially during the second half against Iran.

    Carlos Queiroz's side had the better chances before Messi's late intervention, and Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie might fancy his chances of adding to the goal he scored against Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

Will Argentina and Nigeria Settle for a Point?

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    Argentina's win over Iran means they only need a point against Nigeria to win Group F.

    Nigeria's win against Bosnia means they only need a point to finish second and qualify for the knockout rounds.

    A draw would suit both teams, which might be reflected in the way they approach the game.

    Iran would be the only losers if Argentina and Nigeria shared the points. 

Do Nigeria Have the Ambition to Win the Game?

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    Iran showed that Argentina are far from unbeatable. They had the better chances against the Albiceleste, especially in the second half, and they might have had a penalty when the game was goalless.

    Nigeria can still win the group, but only if they beat Argentina.

    That situation depends on Nigeria having a go, rather than trying to frustrate Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and the rest to earn the point that will see them progress. 

Can Iran Score?

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    Iran won plenty of plaudits for the way they played against Argentina.

    Their effort and commitment deserved a point, and they might even have pulled off one of the great World Cup shocks had they had a bit more luck.

    However, they are yet to score in Brazil after drawing 0-0 with Nigeria and losing 1-0 to Argentina.

    They are undoubtedly well organised and hard to break down, but Carlos Queiroz's side need to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina to stand any chance of progressing.

    To do that, they must find a way to score instead of just keeping them out at the other end. 

Will Bosnia-Herzegovina Be Up for It?

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    Bosnia-Herzegovina are the only team making their World Cup debut in Brazil.

    However, after defeats to Argentina and Nigeria, they will return home after the group stage.

    With players like Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Asmir Begovic, they would usually fancy their chances of beating sides like Iran.

    However, that will depend heavily on whether they can raise themselves for a meaningless game after the disappointment of being knocked out early. 

Will Edin Dzeko's Luck Change?

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    Edin Dzeko is a prolific goalscorer at international level. He averages better than a goal every two games, with 35 in 62 appearances.

    However, he hasn't had much luck in Brazil.

    He had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside against Nigeria and then hit the post in injury time when a goal would have kept Bosnia-Herzegovina in the World Cup.

    The Manchester City striker will want to leave Brazil with a goal, but his luck will have to change when he lines up against Iran on Wednesday. 

Do Nigeria or Iran Pose the Greater Attacking Threat?

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    Second place in Group F could still be decided by goal difference or goals scored.

    If Iran beat Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria lose to Argentina, Iran and Nigeria would finish level on four points.

    They would then be separated by goal difference. If that was also the same, it would come down to goals scored. Therefore, it could come down to which team is the more adventurous in their final group game. 

A Lottery

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    There is still an outside chance that the second team to qualify from Group F could be decided by the drawing of lots.

    If Iran win their final group game and Nigeria lose, both teams will finish on four points. 

    If Iran beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 and Nigeria lose to Argentina by the same score, both teams would finish with an identical goal difference having scored the same number of goals.

    In that instance, because the game between Iran and Nigeria finished in a goalless draw, the team finishing second would be decided by the drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.