Lionel Messi’s stunning injury time goal gave Argentina a narrow 1-0 win over Iran as the Albiceleste secured passage to the last 16 of the World Cup. The final score will be a bitter pill to swallow for Carlos Queiroz’s side who were brilliant in their defensive organisation right throughout the ninety minutes.
Argentina lacked imagination in midfield and looked entirely pedestrian as the Iran defenders doubled up to stop Messi in his free flowing runs from the wings to cut inside the channels.
The Albiceleste started with an attacking 4-3-3 formation but were resorted to crossing from the flanks as Queiroz’s side frustrated them for long spells.
Young left back Marcos Rojo was Argentina’s best attacking outlet from the left wing but the Sporting Lisbon defender could hardly see his crosses met by his fellow strikers up front.
Iran outfit gave Alejandro Sabella’s side a run for their money and should have had a penalty of their own as Fulham winger Ashkhan Dejagah was brought down by Pabolo Zabaleta late in the second half which the referee failed to spot.
Dejagah however nearly gave his side the lead as he got the better of Zabaleta but his fine goal bound header was denied by the finger tips of Sergio Romero. The Monaco shot stopper also had to keep out Reza Ghoochannejhad’s goal bound effort as Argentina looked shaky at the back.
However Lionel Messi had the last laugh with a superb winner deep into injury time, saving his side’s blushes, and ensuring Alejandro Sabella’s side ensure progression to the knockout round.
The Barcelona superstar was not at his best during the match, with him and his side struggling to break down their opponents, but the 26-year-old curled in from the edge of the box to again prove he deserves his place among the very best players on the planet.
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Iran World Cup 2014 Team Page.
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World Cup 2014 Player & Team Stats
World Cup 2014 Group Tables
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