Argentina vs Iran team sheets

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Argentina go into this match as overwhelming favourites so the pressure will be on them to force the win, though Iran could well try to exploit this pressure and Carlos Quieroz will set them up in the ideal way to do so.

Lionel Messi will captain the Albiceleste once again and their fans will be hoping he can really cut loose against an opponent not expected to give Alejandro Sabella's team any trouble in the second round of games in Group F.

Can Messi finally let loose?

However, Messi has yet to really come alive at a World Cup yet in his career, scoring only twice so far and he clearly struggles to play with the same freedom as he does with Barcelona than when he joins up with the national team, though he scored a brilliant goal to make the difference in the 2-1 win over Bosnia Herzegovina in their first match.

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He starts again in a line-up that sees two changes from that victory, with Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuain coming in at the expense of Maxi Rodriguez and Hugo Campagnaro.

Iran, meanwhile, will be hoping to build on their 0-0 draw with Nigeria in the first match and former Manchester United assistant manager Queiroz will hope they can put in a simlarly solid defensive display and has brought in Masoud Shojaei to replace Khosro Heydari in midfield.

The teams are...

Argentina: Romero; Fernández, Garay, Zabaleta, Rojo; Gago, Mascherano, Di María; Agüero, Messi, Higuaín.

Iran: Haghighi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Montazeri, Pooladi, Shojaei, Nekounam, Teymourian, Dejagah, Ghoochannejhad, Hajsafi.

Iran have only ever won one match in ten attempts at the World Cup, but will be feeling cautiously confident after their organisation under Queiroz saw them hold out against Nigeria. Argentina will be a wholly different prospect but the Iranians got to Brazil on the back of their solidity - they managed a 1-1 draw in the teams only previous meeting, in 1977 at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid during a friendly tournament to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of Real Madrid.

Argentina go back to their best

Meanwhile, Sabella looks to have reverted back to the 4-3-3 formation he used so effectively in qualification after starting with five at the back with wing-backs in the first half of their opening game. He quickly realised his mistake at half-time against Bosnia and made the necessary changes, causing Argentina to look far more comfortable in the second period.

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World Cup
Lionel Messi
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