If Nigeria are to prove their tag of being the African team to beat at this FIFA World Cup 2104 in Brazil, then they will have to begin their sojourn with a convincing win over Iran in Curitiba on Monday.
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The Group F game is scheduled for a 4 pm local time (12.30 am IST, 8 pm BST, 3 pm ET) start with live coverage on Sony Six HD and Sony Six in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. Catch the action in the UK on ITV and BBC with the live streaming option HERE or HERE. US viewers can watch the game on ESPN while the optioin to live stream is HERE. Australia viewers can go HERE to watch the game online, while South Africa viewers can watch the match HERE.
With Argentina looking like they will run away with Group F, the final knockout place will be fought between Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The latter showed they are contenders with an impressive performance against Argentina in their first ever World Cup finals match, and now it is the turn of Nigeria and Iran to show their prowess on the big stage.
Nigeria are littered with players of quality and talent, and if they can keep their big-match performances on a consistent keel, they will be favourites to make it to the last 16.
Victory over Iran to get that target off to the right start will be paramount. "This team is growing, it's like a baby," Stephen Keshi said of his current squad, when asked to compare them with his the squad of World Cup debutants 20 years ago. "This team is just a year and a half-old. The team of 1994 was almost five or six years old.
"In 1994, the spirit was very high, we didn't care where the [opposing) team was coming from, we knew we are going to go out there and win the game. Here, we're building that, we try to bring the same spirit. Once we get the spirit, trust me, it's going to be two times as strong as 1994."
Keshi, who insisted a side from Africa are capable of winning the World Cup, will know the dangers that lie ahead with Iran, who have done exceedingly well to qualify for the tournament proper in Brazil.
Carlos Queiroz has done pretty well to get Iran all the way up here, and the Portuguese coach will not want his team to just live on the highs of actually making it to the World Cup finals and being overawed by the big occasion.
"It is always possible to dream," Queiroz said. "Nigeria are favourites but nobody is big enough to win all the time and nobody is small enough to lose all the time.
"The Nigerian team is a team full of stars, with great players playing in Europe," he said, suggesting the pressure was on them to live up to their reputations. Nigeria is one of the nations that is playing this World Cup with one thing on its mind, to be in the finals or the semifinals."
While the 2014 World Cup has been all about free-flowing attacking football with an average of over three goals a game, Queiroz, whose side conceded just five goals in ten matches in qualifying and always the pragmatist, insisted the importance of being a little circumspect as well.
"If you believe good football is only attacking and scoring goals, check the newspapers in Spain and ask them what they think about the result," he added. "You can play good football when you defend well. To defend is part of the game," he added.
"If we need to defend, I'm telling you we are going to defend. If we need to suffer, I'm telling you, we are going to suffer."
Expected lineups: Iran: Davari; Heydari, Hosseini, Montazeri, Hajsafi; Dejagah, Nekounam, Teymourian, Jahanbakhsh; Ghoochannejhad, Shojaei.
Nigeria: Enyeama; Elderson, Oboabona, Omeruo, Ambrose; Onazi, Mikel: Odemwingie, Musa, Moses; Emenike.
Prediction: 1-0 to Nigeria