Tables & Results

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Mon - Jun 16 3:00 pm


StadiumArena da Baixada


Alireza Haghighi
Jalal Hosseini
Ehsan Hajsafi
Khosro Heydari
Pejman Montazeri
Mehrdad Pouladi
Amir Hossein Sadeghi
Javad Nekounam
Andranik Teymourian
Ashkan Dejagah
Reza Ghoochannejhad
Vincent Enyeama
Efe Ambrose
Godfrey Oboabona
Kenneth Omeruo
Juwon Oshaniwa
John Obi Mikel
Ahmed Musa
Ogenyi Onazi
Victor Moses
Ramon Azeez
Emmanuel Emenike


After all the goals, glamour and controversy this was the sobering reality check, an unwelcome guest at the World Cup party.
Nigeria and Iran have still not won a game in this competition since the 1998 finals after a lifeless encounter which will have only enhanced Argentina hopes of securing top spot in Group F untroubled.

This game never appeared likely to produce a winner, with Carlos Queiroz's snooze-inducing tactics unlikely to silence accusations over his perceived negative approach.

After such a torturous few weeks of preparation, Queiroz will consider this deserved result a triumph while Iran's opponents now face a pivotal game against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday in their own bid to secure qualification.

Stephen Keshi, the Nigeria coach, is under pressure to win over a demanding media and support and their failure to beat such unfancied opponents will crank up the expectancy levels even further.

Queiroz must have feared further turbulence in this opening game after enduring such a nightmare build-up. Renowned for his meticulous planning and eye for detail, most notably at Manchester United, his preparations over the past few months have bordered on high farce.

In May a friendly against Serbia was bizarrely cancelled at short notice while his players reported late for a training camp, an embarrassing situation which led to criticism from the country's politicians.

The African champions were dominant but struggling to test their well-organised opponents, growing increasingly frustrated as the half wore on. Victor Moses, the Chelsea winger who experienced such frustration on loan at Liverpool, displayed occasional flashes of brilliance on the left while forward Emmanuel Emenike was a formidable presence.

They nearly took the lead in fortuitous circumstances on the half-hour when Ahmed Musa's clever free-kick almost caught out Alireza Haghighi, but the goalkeeper recovered to scramble the ball away from the bottom corner.

Yet Iran, toothless for much of the first half, could have silenced Nigeria's boisterous support in the 34th minute when Reza Ghoochannejhad found space in the area to powerfully head Ashkan Dejagah's corner towards goal. But Victor Enyeama, the impressive Nigeria goalkeeper, produced an excellent save.

Shola Ameobi and Peter Odemwingie were brought on in an attempt to skewer the tedium. But Iran were disciplined and resilient, as the game, thankfully, limped to its conclusion.

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