The Schedule (All times in GMT+1)
June 15: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina – Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, 11:00PM
June 16: Iran vs. Nigeria – Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, 8:00PM
June 21: Argentina vs. Iran – Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, 5:00PM
June 21: Nigeria vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba, 11:00 PM
June 25: Nigeria vs. Argentina – Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, 5:00PM
June 25: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Iran – Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, 5:00PM
Group F will feature one match that has become something of a classic fixture of and five that have never been played on the big stage before. Bosnia-Herzegovina are making their first appearance at the FIFA World Cup while Iran have only ever faced their group rivals in friendlies. As for Argentina and Nigeria, the other two combatants in the group, there is not much they do not know about each other. Their next meeting will be the latest instalment in an exciting rivalry between the two sides, led by Lionel Messi and John Obi Mikel, who have faced off three times in major competitions at different age levels: the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Netherlands 2005, the gold medal match at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 and in the group phase at South Africa 2010. On all three occasions Argentina won.
Argentina qualified in grand style with a 14 match unbeaten run during the south American qualifiers. Brazil 2014 is the 11th consecutive appearance for them.world cup winners in home soil in 1978 and again at Mexico 1986, runners up in Uruguay in 1930 and Italia ‘90. The Argentines are heavy favourites to top the group, as well as win the World Cup. The team’s strength is their fire power upfront but despite possessing a strong squad on paper, Argentina lacks balance which cost them the last World Cup. No.1 goalkeeper Sergio Romero is also a weak link as he only made three Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco this season.
Coach: Alejandro Sabella
Top players: Lionel Messi Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel di María
After impressing on their way to the second round in each of their first two FIFA World Cup appearances, 1994 and 1998, Nigeria have struggled since, going out at the group stage twice while taking just two points from their last six matches in the finals. A muddled South Africa 2010 campaign did little to bolster Nigeria’s reputation, but Brazil 2014 offers another chance for the reigning African champions to soar.
Coach; Stephen keshi
Top stars; Vincent Enyeama, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses
Bosnia-Herzegovina had an outstanding campaign, winning eight of their ten matches, drawing and losing just once to earn its first qualification for a first appearance at a FIFA World Cup with .When FIFA ranked Bosnia at 13 they surpassed all the highest ranks ever achieved by any Yugoslavian Team. Though Bosnia and Herzegovina are playing their first ever World Cup, they are not being dubbed the underdogs of the group or the tournament. With ample attacking talent and technical ability, Bosnia found the nets 30 times (from 10 games) during their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Coach: Safet Susic
Top stars: Edin Džeko Vedad Ibiševic, Miralem Pjanic Asmir Begovic.
Despite their presence within Asia, Iran have so far been unable to progress beyond the group phase at the FIFA World Cup. They finished their debut campaign with a point, courtesy of a 1-1 draw against Scotland. But their first win came in the second appearance when a golden generation, boasting the likes of Ali Daei, Karim Bagheri and Mehdi Mahdavikia, came up with a memorable 2-1 defeat of USA. Their last participation at Germany 2006 saw them head home with a point after a 1-1 draw against debutants Angola.
Coach: Carlos Queiroz
Top stars: javad Nekounam, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Jalal Hosseini Steven Beitashour
This is really Argentina’s group to lose. They should come out tops. The second place battle will come down to talent and coaching really.