Iran v Nigeria: Iran to dispel Group F whipping boys theory
With Argentina and Bosnia for company, not many supporters give either Iran or Nigeria much chance of escaping Group F in the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t national pride to play for and, in the case of Iran, righting a few dim views of their quality.
With that in mind, here’s our three best bets for the match:
Under the guidance of notoriously meticulous coach Carlos Queiroz, Iran proved to be a tough-to-beat outfit during their qualifying campaign, losing just two of their eight games and conceding just twice.
That solidity carried through to their pre-Brazil friendlies and they went unbeaten in the four games prior to their South American arrival.
Nigeria, on the other hand, didn’t taste victory in any of their pre-tournament warm ups and could be on the end of an upset.
The pair’s combined six draws in their last eight games means the draw no bet option is a must.
Iran’s steely philosophy means that while they don’t allow many goals, they don’t score freely either. Eight goals were registered to Team Melli during qualification and they scored just three in their four games prior to the tournament.
Similarly, Nigeria are poor up front, having scored three goals of their own in their warm-up matches.
In their final eight World Cup qualifiers, Iran’s defence held firm to keep a clean sheet six times.
Their sound defensive line held firm against better opposition in the lead up to the tournament too, shutting out Belarus and Montenegro in draws and Trinidad and Tobago in a 2-0 win in their final friendly.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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