Iran and Colombia meet in a clash of Group C's finest on Tuesday at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar. The skillful Cafeteros, who only just squeaked through the South American qualifiers, looked a solid side in their opening win over the Netherlands, while Iran - reigning champions of Asia - kept their heads to edge an over-tough Gambia that same day.
With both sides posting victories in their respective openers, a win on the second matchday would go a long way toward booking passage to the knockout stages. While the Iranians looked less than convincing at times in their opener against the talented but undisciplined Gambians, Colombia were full of panache and individual style as they expertly undid the Dutch 2-1. With two of the finals finest playmakers on offer - Colombia's Gustavo Cuellar and Iran's Afshin Esmaeil - the late game on Tuesday is likely to be a chess match.
4 - The number of players in the Iranian side from Esfahan-based club side Zob-Ahan. Captain Payam Sadeghian leads the lines in attack and three of Team Melli's four starting defenders also ply their trade with the 2009 Hazfi Cup winners.
"We know Iran are going to be a very difficult team to play against. They have good players all over the field and it is no accident that they are the champions of Asia. We will show them the appropriate respect, prepare well and try to win the game." Ramiro Viafara, Colombia coach.
"In our first match we were under a lot of pressure and feeling a lot of the stress of playing in a World Cup. I am sure that we will be calmer against Colombia, create more chances to score and score more goals than we did against Gambia." Payam Sadeghian, Iran captain