Iran head into their final game in Group F still in contention to advance to the second round for the first time in team history. To do so, they’ll need to beat Bosnia-Herezegovina – who have lost their first two matches in their first-ever World Cup – and also get a little help from group frontrunner Argentina.
DRAWING LOTS? If Iran pulls off a 1-0 win and Argentina beats Nigeria by the same score in the other Group F match – both seemingly distinct possibilities – Iran and Nigeria will each finish with four points, the same goal differential (even) and same number of goals (one). Since the two teams tied when they played each other (the head-to-head matchup is the third tiebreaker), that means lots will be drawn to determine which team will finish second in Group F. It would mark the first time in history lots will be drawn to determine which team advances at a World Cup.
That's right, non-zero chance a WC group result will some day get resolved by drawing of lots. Why not include shot diff, or min leading?— Steve Fenn (@StatHunting) June 23, 2014
CAN IRAN SCORE? To even have a chance to catch Nigeria, Iran needs to do something they haven’t yet done this tournament: score a goal. In their first two games, their strategy was to clearly bunker in – which allowed them to pick up a scoreless draw vs. Nigeria in their opener and nearly shock Argentina in the second game, before Lionel Messi thwarted their hopes for another scoreless draw with a stoppage-time winner. Will they try to change their strategy against Bosnia?
Love Iran's gameplan. Why play to your opponent's strengths? Super effective. It's all about giving yourself a chance to win. #WorldCup— Alecko Eskandarian (@alecko11) June 21, 2014
PLAYING FOR PRIDE: No matter the outcome of Wednesday’s game, it will mark the end of a disappointing tournament for Bosnia-Herzegovina, who dropped a pair of frustrating one-goal games to Argentina and Nigeria to fall out of contention. Head coach Safet Susic has said the team has an “obligation to go out with honors,” but that’s probably easier said than done.
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Edin Dzeko, forward, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- The Manchester City player had a goal unjustly taken away from him for an inaccurate offside call against Nigeria and has yet to score in this tournament, despite taking eight shots in his last game. Will he finally be able to break through?
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Alireza Haghighi, goalkeeper, Iran – You may not have known Haghighi before the World Cup, but you probably do now. The goalkeeper has only allowed one goal this tournament – a wonder-strike from Messi – and will need to be at his best once again for Iran to advance.