‘Iran-Argentina will be the most important and biggest match in Iran’s national football team history,’ exclaimed Niloofar Kangarani, a journalist for Iranian football site Football.ir.

On Saturday, Team Melli will face their toughest and most arduous opponent of all, Argentina – one of football’s most recognized names and a tournament favorite – and against the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and of course, one of the best players of his generation: their skipper Lionel Messi.

In their first match, Iran played under a defensive mentality and over-cautious approach which proved effective in holding reigning African champion Nigeria to a dire 0-0 draw. Based on that approach and the standard of opponent they’re up against, Carlos Queiroz and his team is expected to maintain and stick to that style and manner.

Argentina are not Nigeria – they’re on a whole other level. They are a top side boasting some of the best players on the planet, who can break, create opportunities with minimal effort and change the game in instance, so this will prove to be the longest, biggest and lingering 90 minutes for the Princes of Persia and certainly a more taxing task then the one they endured against the African champs.

Queiroz will likely rely on the same tactics, formation and players for Saturday. Unless Queiroz throws in a curve ball, a 4-2-3-1 formation is in the works with Amir Hossein Sadeghi and Jalal Hosseini in the central defensive positions, Pejman Montazeri at right-back and the impressive Mehrdad Pooladi – who was the star in the Nigeria draw – at left-back.

Former Bolton player, Andranik Teymourian, who has been recently linked with a return to the Premier League with Sunderland, will play in the holding midfield position alongside skipper Javad Nekounam. Khosro Heydari is expected to play once more at the right of the midfield trio, while there is speculation of the more defensive-minded Hashem Beikzadeh replacing Ehsan Hajisafi on the left.

In front, Ashkan Dejagah will likely play once more behind lone frontman Reza ‘Gucci’ Ghoochannejhad. The Fulham midfielder struggled against Nigeria, so he’ll need to up his game significantly along with Gucci, who will be asked to hold the ball up as much as he can and try to keep Argentina’s defenders on their toes as much as possible.

If so, Iran could benefit from the counter-attack, especially against a questionable Argentinian defence as displayed in their opening win against Bosnia and could get caught off-guard of a well-worked move…. see more

source: metro UK