World Cup: Argentina defeats Iran 1- 0


Argentina[] – A tense grinding match. Both sides stuck to their strategies with Argentina possessing and attacking, and Iran sitting back and defending  but the arc of the game was still plenty surprising.

Who would have expected that Iran would manage to hold off their powerful opponents until the first minute of stoppage time? It took a brilliant bit of play from Lionel Messi to get Argentina their three points.

There is joy in Buenos Aires, maybe not so much in Tehran. But Iran was brilliant, really. A team of players from the Iranian league (plus Fulham’s Dejagah) didn’t just shut down such world-class stars as Aguero and Higuain, but they looked at moments like they might come away with three points. They didn’t quite have the quality to finish, but they came very close to playing the spoiler.

And Argentina? Not impressive. They may be through to the knockout stage, but their days are numbered if their strategy is simply to wait for Messi to create a little magic in the final minutes. The ability is there, for sure, but they’re going to need to play with more intensity, and do a much better job at adjusting to different defenses.

As expected, Argentina dominated possession and Iran defended. It’s hard to believe Argentina isn’t going to find the back of the net eventually, but every time they fail to finish, Iran gets a little more confident. Argentina had 11 shots, 5 on goal. They really haven’t looked very dynamic and haven’t been able to fully break down Iran’s 10 — 10! — Defenders.

Have to figure we’re going to see some different tactics from Argentina in the 2nd half. They can afford to remain patient for a bit, but they need to somehow create more space near Iran’s goal.

As for Iran, I think we can expect more of the same. They know their only chance to score will come on a quick counter or (more likely) a set piece. But they’ll of course be thrilled if things remain just as they are and they can come away with a point against Argentina. (New York Times)



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