Iran should provide easy pickings for Messi and co.
Iran rarely looked like scoring in their opening game with Nigeria in Curitiba but they effectively closed down their opponents as well and escaped with a point that was probably the limit of their ambitions.
Former Bolton midfielder Andranik Teymourian put in a shift for his team but, unfortunately, Carlos Querioz’ side may be no more than cannon fodder for Group F favourites Argentina.
After taking an early lead against Bosnia-Herzogovina in the Maracana, the star-studded Argentinians failed to impose themselves on their opponents until Lionel Messi lit up the Brazilian capital with a trademark individual goal that will doubtless be shown over and again in the coming weeks if his side enjoy an extended stay in the tournament.
Even then, Argentina had to endure an uncomfortable last five minutes after Vedad Ibisevic pulled a goal back but you get the impression that there is much more to come from Alejandro Sabella’s team.
But they won’t always be able to rely on their star player to get them out of a hole and the coach did try to move his men further up the field in the second half of their match with the Bosnians, throwing on Gonzalo Higuain to support Messi and Sergio Aguero.
Three points against Iran looks a certainty and they will almost certainly win an easy-looking section but Argentina are only 1/8 in the Estadio Mineirao so we’ll have to look for some value in our other markets.
It will be a huge surprise if Argentina fail to keep a clean sheet against the Iranians, who rarely threatened Nigeria and are likely to be even less adventurous in their second group game – Iran not to score is 2/5. Argentina are 4/1 to win 3-0 in our correct score markets.
The match kicks off at 5pm UK time on Saturday June 21st at the Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte.