Breaking Down Argentina's World Cup 2014 Group Stage Opponents

Dan Colasimone@@ArgentinaFWContributor IDecember 6, 2013

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of Argentina in action during the International Friendly match between Sweden and Argentina at the Friends Arena on February 6, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The World Cup draw on Friday threw up some interesting groups, but Argentina can be pretty happy overall at how things panned out for them.

Drawn into Group F, the Albicelestes were then joined by Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in what looks like a manageable task for one of the pre-tournament favorites.

Argentina will play Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 15 in Rio de Janeiro, Iran on June 21 in Belo Horizonte, and Nigeria on June 25 in Porto Alegre, and coach Alejandro Sabella declared he was happy with both the opponents and the locations of the matches.

Sabella told Fox Sports Argentina, as relayed by a journalist from that network, Daniel Arcucci on his Twitter account (@daniarcucci), that he was pleased with the draw.

"There were two important aspects, geographical and sporting, and both turned out well," Sabella said.

Marcelo Sottile, an Argentine journalist who was present at the draw, reported these comments from Sabella via his Twitter feed:

We are going to try and finish first (in the group). 

Bosnia we know, and we've played Nigeria as well.

We'll study them more.

I know little about Iran.

Let's take a look at Argentina's three group stage opponents:


World ranking: 21

Coach: Safet Susic

Star man: Edin Dzeko

Argentina recently accounted for the Bosnians' 2-0 loss in a friendly match, with Sergio Aguero grabbing both goals. That comfortable result should give a fair indication of the difference between the two sides. Susic's side are no pushovers, however. They topped their qualifying group with 25 points, have a strong attack led by Dzeko, and some talented midfielders. Defense is a weakness, though, and Argentina have the players to exploit such a flaw.


World ranking: 45

Coach: Carlos Queiroz

Star man: Reza Ghoochannejhad

As Sabella mentioned, the Albicelestes will know little about Iran at this stage, but the Asian team is one of the weakest in the tournament—on paper at least. Queiroz has them playing in a well-organized manner, with defense a strong point, but in reality they should not trouble Argentina.


World ranking: 36

Coach: Stephen Keshi

Star man: John Obi Mikel

Arguably the best team in Africa right now, Nigeria could pose a stern test for Sabella's side. They topped their group in African qualifying before easily accounting for Ethiopia in their playoff and also won the 2013 African Cup of Nations. The Super Eagles are a young, dynamic side. Their inexperience could hurt them when taking on a heavyweight like Argentina, but then again, it might prove a bonus if they play without fear.


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