World Cup Group F Preview
By Grant Becker
Preview: South American giants Argentina headline a group that includes an overlooked Bosnian team, an Iran squad with a lot of fight in them, and the champions of Africa, Nigeria. What Argentina lacked in 2010, they believe they have found in 2014 by adding a stable manager and producing quality defenders. Bosnia and Herzegovina have quietly built a strong squad capable of shocking results. Iran sit near the very bottom of teams that have qualified for the cup, but that doesn’t mean they will go down easily. Nigeria make up for their lack of depth with quality attackers plying their trade in Europe’s top leagues. If nothing else, this group will produce goals.
Key Game: Bosnia and Herzegovina will embrace the underdog role when they take on Leo Messi and Argentina, meaning the Argentines should watch out. This match will be the first true a litmus test for both teams. Additionally, this game will determine which team is taking the easy route to the knockout stages and which one is taking the hard way. Something to watch for in this game is how both team’s attacking units respond to quality defending.
X-Factor: Edin Dzeko looks like a world-beater some days, while others he looks like a basketball player who was just told he can’t use his hands. The player that shows up in Brazil will decide exactly how far his team goes. The attacking talent around Dzeko is rather impressive, meaning that he will certainly have chances to score. Whether or not he does will determine how this group shakes out.
Prediction: Argentina 9, B & H 6, Nigeria 3, Iran 0. This group will shake out exactly how it should, with each team beating the next in line. Argentina will get their offensive engines firing on all cylinders against Iran and Nigeria, while Bosnia and Herzegovina turn heads with their flexibility in attack. Don’t count out the possibility of multiple five goal games in this group.