Argentina were far from impressive in their opening FIFA World Cup 2014 match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, needing a brilliant Lionel Messi goal to just get over the line. The South American giants will look to find their attacking mojo to better effect when they face Iran in their Group F match in Belo Horizonte.
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The Group F game is scheduled for a 1 pm local time (9.30 pm IST, 5 pm BST, 12 pm ET) start with live coverage on Sony Six and Sony Six HD 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. Viewers in Brazil can watch the match HERE, while viewers in Argentina and South America can catch the action HERE. US viewers can watch the game on ESPN and ABC while the option to live stream is HERE. Australia viewers can go HERE to watch the game live online, while South Africa viewers can watch the match HERE.
Messi's stunning goal and the fact that it was the first time in eight years he had scored in the World Cup, took a lot away from Argentina's actual performance, which was iffy at best.
Bosnia-Herzegovina could have easily gotten the better of their more illustrious counterparts in that match, and coach Alejandro Sabella will expect a much more improved performance against Iran.
A few chinks in Argentina's setup were also revealed after the narrow 2-1 win, with Messi criticising Sabella's tactics of playing with five defenders in the first game. Once Argentina changed back to a flat back four and brought on an extra attacker in Gonzalo Higuain, Messi seemed to thrive more, with the little Argentine seeing the ball quite a lot more, which eventually saw him score that wonderful goal.
"I was not hurt by Leo's comment and he has said that before," Sabella said. "He likes to play 4-3-3 with [Angel] Di Maria up front. "They [reporters] asked him how he likes to play and he answered what he thinks in a respectful way.
"We respect each other, we have a very strong team spirit. It is good to have an open dialogue with my players. Sometimes players learn from us [coaches] and sometimes we learn from them."
Sabella was quick to confirm the formation Argentina will play with against Iran, with 4-3-3 very much the name of the game. "We can all make mistakes you know," he added on Friday. "Tomorrow we will start with a 4-3-3 formation and we will take it from there. We may have to change the formation or not.
"I am the one who told Messi to go [to the press conference after the Bosnia game] and I fully trust all my players from a human and professional standpoint. We have a two-way street in our dialogue because if you don't let them say what they want to say then you won't get the best out of them."
The Iran game is the best opportunity for Argentina to light up this World Cup. On paper, they have arguably the best attacking lineup in the entire tournament, and with the likes of Netherlands, Germany and France scoring goals for fun, one of the favourites to lift the title will not want to be left behind.
From Iran's point of view, if they manage to beat Argentina on Saturday, this will surely be the biggest upset in a World Cup which has already seen plenty. Iran have been tipped to finish bottom of Group F, but as Costa Rica showed in Group D, being the underdogs can sometimes help you slip under the radar and then surprise the bigger teams.
Iran will look to build on a strong defensive performance in their opening game, which saw them hold Nigeria to a goalless draw. So, Argentina can expect ten men behind the ball come Saturday, and it will be interesting to see if they manage to break down the team which is pretty well drilled by Carlos Queiroz.
"Argentina are a team of geniuses, outstanding players," Queiroz said. "But we know we cannot play with geniuses, we need other players and this is the profile of the Iranian team, a team of sacrifice.
"It will be a team playing to win the World Cup and a team playing to win their own Cup so to speak. We want to compete with respect and dignity. Enter the pitch with our heads held high and leave it with our heads held high again."
Team news: Argentina: Rodrigo Palacio has recovered from an ankle injury which saw him miss the game against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and should be available along with Di Maria, who was suffering from a knock. Higuain should get the nod from the start, after the 3-5-2 formation backfired for Sabella.
Iran: Hashem Beikzadeh is expected to be back in the reckoning, after the left-back was ruled out for the opener through injury.
Expected lineups: Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Fernandez, Garay, Rojo; Gago, Mascherano, Di Maria; Messi, Higuain, Aguero.
Iran: Haghighi; Hosseini, Sadeghi, Montazeri, Pooladi; Heydari, Timotian; Dejagah, Nekounam, Haji Safi; Ghhochanejjad.
Prediction: 3-0 to Argentina