- Group A
- Group B
- Group C
- Group D
- Group E
- Group F
- Group G
- Group H
Analysis of Group Stage
Argentina, Nigeria renew rivalry
Group F will feature one match that has become something of a classic fixture of and five that have never been played on the big stage before, part of the reason for which is because Bosnia-Herzegovina are making their first appearance at the FIFA World Cup™, while Iran have only ever faced their group rivals in friendlies.
As for Argentina and Nigeria, the other two combatants in the group, there is not much they do not know about each other. Their meeting next June will be the latest instalment in an exciting rivalry between the two sides, led by Lionel Messi and John Obi Mikel, who have faced off three times in major competitions at different age levels: the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Netherlands 2005, the gold medal match at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 and in the group phase at South Africa 2010. On all three occasions Argentina won.
There is not much that has not already been said about two-time world champions Argentina or for that matter about Messi, who will renew his bid to lift the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy. Alejandro Sabella’s men are the favourites to top a group in which reigning African champions Nigeria will be aiming to make the experience they have acquired on their four previous appearances count. Meanwhile, Bosnia will be out to replicate the entertaining brand of football that made them the fourth-highest scorers in the European qualifiers, and Iran, coached by Portugal’s Carlos Queiroz will hope to combine solid organisation with the technical attributes they have long been known for.
Players to watch
Lionel Messi, (ARG), Sergio Aguero (ARG), Gonzalo Higuain (ARG), John Obi Mikel (NGA), Victor Moses (NGA), Victor Obinna (NGA), Edin Dzeko (BIH), Vedad Ibisevic (BIH), Miralem Pjanic (BIH), Reza Ghoochannejhad (IRN), Javad Nekounam (IRN), Karim Ansari (IRN).
The crunch match
Bosnia-Nigeria: in a section that most people will expect Argentina to win, games such as this one will be crucial in deciding who goes through to the last 16. The European side will have the challenge of performing in circumstances that will be entirely new to them, while the Nigerians will be eyeing the chance to reach the knockout phase for the first time since France 1998.
Last World Cup: Quarter-finals Nickname: La Albiceleste Coach: Alejandro Sabella Star man: Lionel Messi Tournament best: Winners 1978, 1986 Barcelona sup...More »
Last World Cup: First time qualifiers Nickname: Dragons, Golden Lilies Coach: Safet Susic Star man: Edin Dzeko Tournament best: Never qualified The natio...More »
Last World Cup: Did not qualify Nickname: Lions/Team Melli Coach: Carlos Queiroz Star man: Javad Nekounam Tournament best: Group stage 1978, 1998, 2006 T...More »
Last World Cup: Group Stage Nickname: Super Eagles Coach: Stephen Keshi Star man: Victor Moses Tournament best: Last 16 1994, 1998 Moses may only be 22 b...More »