FIFA World Cup 2014 at a Glance: Group F

Group F is tricky. It features one of the tournament’s clear favorites, Argentina, along with three talented, hungry sides. Argentina should move to the next round easily, but it is very difficult to predict how the other three sides will fare against each other.

Group F

Team: Argentina

Manager: Alejandro Sabella

Path to Qualification:

Argentina qualified for the World Cup by topping the tough CONMEBOL qualifier. The Argentineans won nine, drew five and lost two games on their way to World Cup qualification. Along the way they scored an impressive thirty five goals, whilst conceding fifteen.

The Game Changers:

Argentina boasts perhaps the best striking force in the world. Their five forward players are some of the best players in the world individually and when they play together they can be unstoppable. Players like Lionel Messi (arguably the best player in the world), Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Levezzi can single handedly win games, so imagine the damage they can do if they play as a unit.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 15
Best Finish: Winners (1978, 1986)

Prediction for the Group: 1st

The Argentinean team is considered as one of the favorites for the tournament; they certainly have the potential to do so. As far as the group goes, it can be safely said that Messi and Co will brush aside their competition and easily qualify for the next round.

Interesting Fact:

Argentina and Uruguay hold the record for the highest number of international games played between two countries. Their tally of 198 games could improve during the World Cup.

Team: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Manager: Safet Sušić

Path to Qualification:

Bosnia were placed in UEFA’s Group G during qualification, along with Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Liechtenstein. Bosnia were able to comfortably top their group by winning eight out of ten games, losing one and drawing one  in the process. The Bosnians managed to score thirty goals and conceded only six during the qualification stage.

The Game Changers:

EdizDzeko:
The Manchester City forward has had a very successful international career. He has been named Bosnia’s player of the year three times in a row and is now the country’s leading goal scorer. The dynamic forward has the talent to score against any opposition, and if he is in form during the World Cup, then he can do some serious damage to their opponents.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 1st in 2014

Prediction for the Group: 3rd

This is Bosnia’s first World Cup appearance, and there is no way of predicting how they will perform. It will not come as a surprise if they are able to beat Nigeria and draw with Iran, but I don’t see them beating Argentina. So while the Bosnian’s can easily finish second, it will depend on their results against Iran and Nigeria. Bosnia’s lack of big tournament experience coupled with the warmer conditions will play against them. So my prediction for Bosnia is that they will come third in their group.

Interesting Fact:

This is Bosnia’s first major soccer tournament appearance as an independent nation. 

Team: Iran

Manager: Carlos Queiroz

Path to Qualification:

Iran was placed in AFC’s Group A along with South Korea, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Qatar. The Iranians topped their group by winning five games, losing two and drawing one. The Iranians scored eight goals in the process whilst conceding just two.

The Game Changers:

Carlos Queiroz:
The former Real Madrid manager has a wealth of experience on competing at the highest level of world soccer. His tenure at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson would’ve taught him all about winning, and the Iranian team’s manager can certainly lead his team to victory against most opponents. If Queiroz gets his tactics right then Iran can upset most teams.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 4
Best Finish: Group Stage

Prediction for the Group: 3rd

This is a very bold prediction, simply based on the fact that the Iranians are relatively unknown entities in World Soccer. Queiroz will be able to handle the pressure of competing at the World Cup stage. The playing conditions will also favor Iran, who will be more acclimatized to the warm weather as compared to Bosnia. If the Iranians could beat Nigeria and draw with Bosnia, then they could very well sneak into the next round. 

Interesting Fact:

The Iranian National team is the number one ranked Asian team according to FIFA’s world rankings.

Team: Nigeria

Manager: Stephen Keshi

Path to Qualification:

Nigeria was placed in CAF’s Group F during the penultimate qualifying phase. They bested Kenya, Malawi and Namibia to top their group and proceed to the playoffs. There they defeated Ethiopia for a 4-1 aggregate and confirmed their place in the World Cup finals.

The Game Changers:

  • John Obi Mikel
  • Victor Moses

These two players form the core of the Nigerian midfield engine. Chelsea’s Mikel and Liverpool’s Moses have played at the highest level in world soccer and their experience will be priceless for the Nigerian team. If these two can gel together, then they can dictate the team’s play, helping them win against better teams. 

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 4
Best Finish: Round of 16 (1994, 1998)

Prediction for the Group: 4th

The Nigerian team were crowned Champions of Africa in 2013 after winning the African Cup of Nations. However, beating teams from Africa is one thing and beating teams from all over the world is another. Even though on paper they seem like they can beat both Bosnia and Iran, I don’t think they have the tactical flexibility to do so. Their days of running at full steam and out muscling their opponent are long gone and tactical nuance is soccer’s new calling.

Interesting fact:

The Nigerian soccer team made their World Cup debut in 1994, and since then they have qualified for five out of six World Cups.

Based on the evidence above, it is clear that Argentina will have no problem moving on to the next round. However the interesting question is who else will join them. Even though I have made my predictions, and I think Bosnia will edge out the other two, you never know with soccer, and it may very well be the Iranians or Nigerians that go through.

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Ivy Oscar is a professional writer and blogger from Magnolia, Delaware. She likes to write about music, sports, celebrities and all the good things in life.
Categories: Soccer, Sports

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