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World Cup

  • June 21, 2014
  • • 12:00 PM
  • • Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
  • Referee: M. Mažić
  • • Attendance: 57698
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World Cup Preview: Argentina - Iran

Lionel Messi star got off the mark for the tournament with a stunning strike against Bosnia & Herzegovina and he and his teammates are after more goals.

Argentina is set for a return to its habitual 4-3-3 formation in the Group F clash against Iran on Saturday.

Coach Alejandro Sabella surprisingly started with a 5-3-2 system in his side’s opener versus Bosnia-Herzegovina last Sunday, but switched back to the team’s favored formation after the interval.

Captain Lionel Messi, who scored a wonder goal to seal a 2-1 victory for the Albiceleste, claimed on Monday he feels “more comfortable” in a 4-3-3, while defender Pablo Zabaleta also revealed he prefers the system.

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Gonzalo Higuain is set to start for Argentina after beginning on the bench on Sunday, while Angel Di Maria has shaken off muscle fatigue and been declared fully fit for the game in Belo Horizonte.

Argentina is based just outside the capital of Minas Gerais and will travel the short distance into town to the Estadio Mineirao for the second group game. Inter striker Rodrigo Palacio, who missed the opener with an ankle problem, has trained normally this week and could play a part from the bench.

A win for Argentina will see Sabella’s side qualify for the last 16 ahead of its final group game against Nigeria in Porto Alegre next Wednesday.

Iran drew with Nigeria on Monday in the competition’s first goalless game.

Coach Carlos Queiroz, who will be leaving his post after the World Cup, dismissed criticism aimed at his side after that match and called for his players’ achievements to be put into perspective.

Queiroz claimed people in Iran would be proud of the result and reminded reporters that his players turn out in an amateur league, not the top teams in Europe or South America.

Left back Hashem Beikzadeh is available again for the Asian side after missing the opener against Nigeria with an injury sustained in a warmup game prior to the competition.

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