World Cup: Group F preview

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria

Featuring two-time FIFA World Cup winners Argentina, Group F will highlight the skills and attacking capabilities of the Argentine squad, who are favourites to easily top the group.

Also featuring in Group F is Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, who should struggle to get results against the Argentinians, and will battle it out for the second group stage qualifying place.

Bosnia Herzegovina will be featuring in their first ever World Cup, while Nigeria will be hoping to make it through to the knockout stage for the first time since 1998. Iran also face the difficult task of making it past the group - something they haven't achieved in any of their three previous World Cup appearances (1978, 1998 and 2006).

Argentina (FIFA rank: 7)

Captained by arguably the best footballer in the world, Lionel Messi, Argentina are easily the favourites to win Group F.

Despite Juventus striker Carlos Tevez not featuring in coach Alejandro Sabella's squad after coming second only to Ciro Immobile as the Serie A top goal scorer last season, the attacking options of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi will provide plenty of opportunities for Argentina to challenge for a place in the final.

As a South American side, Argentina will have a huge fan base in Brazil and, while not as impressive in defence as they are in attack, the oldest squad in the competition (with an average age of 28.4) easily made it through World Cup qualifying, which included comfortable victories against Chile and Uruguay.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (FIFA rank: 25)

This is the first World Cup appearance for Bosnia and Herzegovina and despite that, they should be considered strong contenders to make it through the group stage.

The strength of the squad can be found in their offence, which includes Manchester City's Edin Dzeko, Stuttgart's Vedad Ibisevic and Roma's Miralem Pjanic.

Dzeko, who is the highest scorer for the country with 35 goals, will be the main outlet for scoring opportunities in Brazil.

Scoring 30 goals and conceding six during World Cup qualifying against sides such as Latvia and Liechtenstein (who they beat 8-1), the main objective for Bosnia and Herzegovina must be to counter their own defensive weaknesses with an attacking mentality.

Iran (FIFA rank: 37)

Topping their group in World Cup qualifying ahead of South Korea, Iran faces a tough battle in Brazil due to a lack of world class talent.

Coached by former Manchester United assistant and Portugal coach Carlos Quieroz, Iran's World Cup squad does feature a number of veterans such as 31-year-old midfielder Andranik Teymourian and 33-year-old captain Javad Nekounam.

Iran taking any points from their fixtures will be something of a surprise however, with the main offensive threat coming from Charlton Athletic forward Reza Ghoochannejhad.

Nigeria (FIFA rank: 44)

Having beaten Ethiopia in World Cup qualifying 4-1 on aggregate and winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria head to Brazil with hopes of ending a dismal run in World Cup competition.

Nigeria have finished bottom of their group in their last two World Cup appearances and have not won a match at the World Cup since 1998. Naturally, the Super Eagles will look to change that in Group F this year.

While the inclusion of players such as Victor Moses, Vincent Enyeama and John Obi Mikel was expected, the omission of Africa Cup hero Sunday Mba, winger Ejike Uzoenyi and Lokomotiv Moscow's Victor Obinna doesn't help Nigeria's chances.


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