Argentina 1-0 Iran
It took another magical piece of inspiration from Lionel Messi to help Argentina cross the finishing line against Iran.
Following their slender 1-0 win against Bosnia, the La Albiceleste again looked lethargic and struggled to break down a stubborn Iranian outfit.
By the end, Team Melli had only attempted 130 passes in the match—the lowest by any team in a World Cup since 1966. As the game looked certain to end a stalemate, Messi received the ball outside of the penalty, negotiated room for a shot and curled a superb left-footed effort beyond the Iranian goalkeeper.
The result was somewhat harsh on Iran as they fashioned some good opportunities which Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero was equal to. Coach Carlos Quieroz also bemoaned a possible penalty.
However, Messi will quite rightly take the headlines and his two performances at this tournament will spark comparisons to Diego Maradona in 1986. Could it be Argentina’s year?
Bosnia-Hercegovina 0-1 Nigeria
Before the match Nigeria’s World Cup track record was under scrutiny.
The usually formidable Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko had a night to forget as numerous chances went begging although he had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside.
His night was perfectly summed up in injury-time as he demonstrated superb body strength to spin his marker but he scuffed his shot which bounced off the goalkeeper, into the post and then away.
Nigeria’s goal arrived courtesy of a powerful run by Emmanuel Emenike who out muscled Bosnian captain, Emir Spahic, to set up Peter Odemwingie for a straightforward tap-in winner.
The result meant Bosnia had lost a second consecutive competitive match for the first time in five years and will now be flying home after their match against Iran.
Nigeria look favourites to join Argentina in the last-16.
FINAL GROUP F FIXTURES (Wednesday 25th June—both games kick-off at 5pm GMT)
Argentina vs Nigeria
Iran vs Bosnia