Argentina 1 – Iran 0

Not much going on in the first half. It was not boring per se. It just didn’t translate into any real chances. Argentina tried a couple of offensive moves. The defense for both teams seemed a little tight and not penetrable. So neither team could really get going.
Not sure if offsides was a major concern that prevented more and better possessions. Didn’t see many runs by either team. I think that there were plenty in other games so it is a nagging concern in the background. But kind of hard to create chances otherwise.
The second half started off much the same. There were a few chances. Iran’s Reza Haghighi header at 52nd minute got knocked down. And Lionel Messi’s shot in the 59th minute was just on the outside of the goal post. Reza Haghighi had another chance on a counter in the 85th minute that goalie Sergio Romero was able to get his mitts on.
One thing about this game was the lack of penalty kicks for either side. The refs just let them play. Things did not respond by getting overly “chippy”. Both sides played a clean game. But there were not very many penalty kicks especially in a couple of incidences where there could have been.
Then in the first minute of stoppage time; Lionel Messi showed his amazing left foot. From over 30 yards out; he bends one around the defense in a way that looked just gorgeous.
Iran is going to have to finish their counters and/or corners. They are not making that many chances. So they have to take advantage when they have them. They are not out of this tournament. But they need to go out and grab it in their next fixture against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since they got the draw against Nigeria and depending on the result of those two teams later today; Iran could get through. They are going to have to score. Early and often.
Argentina looks like they could not get around that wall of red they saw on offense presented by a very stingy Iranian defense. The one time there was a crack; Messi scored. Messi’s left foot is possibly the most important to asset to the team. His two goals are the only ones for Argentina since their other is an own goal against Bosnia. If he uncharacteristically goes cold; they have no other scorers. That is tenuous but it has worked well for Barcelona for going on about 7 years. But Barca picked up Neymar last season because that can’t last forever.
I do not see where that extra spark will come from on this team. Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuaín and Angel Di Maria have been ineffective. They have switched from a 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3 to suit Messi. Shall see if that suits the team going forward. Argentina are through to the round of 16.

About drphlgoode

Just an Average Joe
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