World Cup 2014: How Iran Will Line Up Against Bosnia
Iran continue to prepare for their decisive clash with Bosnia tomorrow, fully aware that three points will likely take them to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time in the nation's history.
Confidence is high in the Iran camp after the impressive performance against Argentina last weekend, and a tough stretch of luck for Bosnia has left them only playing for pride in the final match.
Forward/winger Ashkan Dejagah and striker Reza Ghoochannejhad will be relied upon to score for Iran, who are the only team to have failed to find the net so far.
Iran lined up in a 4-5-1 formation against Argentina as follows:
Here is how Iran will likely line up against Bosnia.
Alireza Haghighi will once again man the goalposts for Iran.
He was very solid and perhaps more confident after the Nigeria game and made a string of good saves against Argentina.
There was not much he could do against Lionel Messi's world-class finish that gave Argentina the late, late victory.
Coach Carlos Queiroz has plenty of confidence in the Rubin Kazan-owned goalkeeper.
The defense is also unlikely to change much from the past two games, where Queiroz has started the same back four both times.
The defense has made a tournament-high 47 clearances out of 57 attempts, as per FIFA's official statistics.
Right-back Hosseini, left-back Pooladi and center-backs Montazeri and Sadeghi played well against Argentina, very nearly keeping a clean sheet against one of the most talented front lines in the world.
Hosseini and Pooladi also played very well in a tracking sense, with Hosseini coming close on a first-half header and Pooladi bursting up the flank despite having to deal with Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Messi at differing times.
This group will remain the same against Bosnia's potent attacking force, which will feature Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisevic, Zvjezdan Misimovic and Miralem Pjanic.
Nekounam, as captain, and Teymourian are both automatic starters as the central midfield pair.
Hajsafi was also extremely impressive opposite the highly influential Dejagah. Both should continue to start as wingers given the attacking impetus and the general work-rate on offer.
Shojaei came in to start after coming on as a substitute in the Nigeria match. The former Osasuna star clearly has lost a step but remains a dangerous proposition when on the ball.
Despite his talent, he struggled to really impose himself on the game against Argentina.
Queiroz is likely to opt for a two-striker formation given that Iran absolutely must score to secure progression, leaving Shojaei as the odd man out.
Ghoochannejhad has been one of Iran's primary attacking outlets, coming close against both Nigeria and Argentina multiple times.
He remains an undisputed starter under Queiroz.
Iran must win this game to advance, and given their struggles scoring so far, Queiroz may go for a strike partner to pair with Ghoochannejhad.
One of Alireza Jahanbakhsh or Karim Ansarifard will likely get the nod.
It is also possible that Khosro Heydari makes an appearance as an attacking winger, but the most likely starter opposite "Gucci" would be Jahanbakhsh.