Thank you for following along with us as we saw Lionel Messi lead Argentina to a 1-0 win against Iran, despite Team Melli's best efforts to hold the South Americans to a goalless draw. Our focus now turns to the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, where Germany and Ghana are ready to square off. Join us there as we continue our LIVE coverage of Matchday 10 at Brazil 2014.
I feel for the Iran National team, they have played some great football these past 2 games. #Respect @afcasiancup #CahillBrazil #Messi— Tim Cahill (@Tim Cahill) 21/06/2014 17:52
|9||Attempts On Target||4|
|1||Total Goals scored||0|
FULL TIME: Argentina come away from the Estadio Mineirao with three points, thanks to their captain and goalscorer Lionel Messi's last minute heroics. Iran must be commended as they played some of the most disicplined football we've seen in this entire tournament. Team Melli can be proud of the effort they put in today and even had a couple of good looks on goal to maybe score themselves. But Messi, as he is known to do, shows some sublime skill and his shot was never going to be saved by Haghighi. The South Americans, now on six points, have secured passage to the Round of 16 with the win.
has been elected Man of the Match
|90MINUTES PLAYED||48TOTAL PASSES||1GOALS FOR||6SHOTS|
That's what Messi does..... Doesn't matter what minute he can pop up and do something like that!! #class— Chris Wood (@Chris Wood) 21/06/2014 17:51
GOAL: Messi scores in the final moments to break Iranian hearts! A delightful bit of individual skill allows the No10 to open up and curve his shot around the defenders and past the goalkeeper. That's an excellent strike from La Albiceleste's skipper.
GOOD SAVE: Romero denies Ghoochannejhad once again after the No16 is put in clear on goal. His shot isn't as strong as he would have liked but it still forces a good save out of the keeper.
GOOD SAVE: Rodrigo Palacio's header might have been going wide but Haghighi gets a good hand to it and pushes it out for a corner.
Rojo, who has been incredibly active in this second period takes a shot but it crosses the face of goal and sails wide.
Both sides making changes in the past minute. Alejandro Sabella opting to give two new strikers a chance to see if they can breakthrough the Iranian defence. Meanwhile, Carlos Queiroz brings on an extra defender in place of the midfielder.
Argentina have only won the World Cup in years when the official mascot wore a hat. Since 1986, Argentina’s last World Cup triumph, no mascot has worn a hat. 2014’s Fuleco the Armadillo is also hatless, although his shells may look like a cap.
STATS: #ARG finding it tough to break down compact #IRN. Real-time #ARGIRN statistics here - http://t.co/tpa3HjoDHc http://t.co/LEMVW0mn3y— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) 21/06/2014 17:34
Don't forget to vote for your man of the match - who's had the most impact today?Vote for your Man of the Match
GOOD SAVE: Di Maria's shot is a good one but it's straight at Haghighi and the keeper is able to hold on to the ball. Had he given up a rebound it would have almost certainly been finished by a South American striker.
Argentina's captain tries to bend the ball around the outside of the wall and find the top corner on the near post, but his effort hits the side netting.
The two No7's battle once again and Shojaei takes down Di Maria just outside the box, receiving a yellow card for his efforts.
PHOTO: #IRN have kept a clean sheet in 4 of last 5 matches before today #ARG #ARGIRN - http://t.co/an4xx357eb http://t.co/32mF6bDcFF— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) 21/06/2014 17:30
Now it's Haghighi's turn on the the other end to make a great diving punch to relieve the pressure in the Iranian penalty area.
GREAT SAVE: Romero somehow gets a fingertip to Dejagah's header, who connected on the end of a great cross, and the keeper tips the effort over the bar.
Iran are gaining some momentum and after another counter Team Melli is preparing for their fourth corner.
Panic in the box as the ball settles just in front of Romero's goal! Ghoochannejhad comes closest but can't get the ball out from under his feet and Gago clears.
Haji Safi's shot is deflected and looks to cause Romero some trouble but the keeper sees it out for Iran's third corner of the game.
JUST WIDE: Messi makes a dazzling run down the centre of the field and his shot looks destined to find the lower corner but it rolls barely wide.
Iran are holding well and managing the Argentinian pressure, which is coming in waves.
WHAT A CHANCE! An electric Iranian counter-attack nearly stuns Argentina after Ghoochannejhad's header nearly beats Sergio Romero but the Monaco keeper does well to save and clear.
Rojo serves in another great ball thatfinds Aguero in the middle but the Manchester City man only glances the ball with his head.
Messi makes a great run and finds the No5 but the centre-back's shot isn't accurate enough for the top corner and misses high and wide.
Rojo beats a few defenders with some clever touches and his cross is a good one but there are no Argentinians in the box to meet it.
The South Americans start the second half at the Estadio Mineirao.
The teams make their way back out to the pitch to start the second half.
A look at the two captains' statistics from the first half.
HALF-TIME: Perhaps to the surprise of many in the crowd that were expecting a run away victory for the South Americans, Argentina and Iran are goalless at the break. La Albicelste have certainly had the majority of the possession and chances, but there have been very few clear-cut chances for Aljeandro Sabella's men, which will surely be a talking point during half-time.
Voting is now open for your man of the match - who's caught your eye today?Vote for your Man of the Match
|5||Attempts On Target||0|
|0||Total Goals scored||0|
Haji Safi takes one last speculative effort before half-time, stirking a half-volley from 35 yards out but it sails high and wide.
Gago kicks at Mehrdad Pooladi's legs and gives up the foul.
Argentina continue to cause trouble in Iran's half but a tough backline hasn't been cracked yet as La Albiceleste prepare for another corner.
HIGH: Hosseini's header from Dejagah's corner is a good one but it also sent high.
Ashkan Dejagah sends in an inviting free-kick and Argentina are forced to clear out for a corner.
Iran are No1 at the World Cup in one respect. Most fans watched their qualifiers, in total and per game #IRN http://t.co/wsT0We9948— sportingintelligence (@sportingintelligence) 21/06/2014 16:39
HIGH: Argentina's No2 nearly scores from Messi's free kick but his header is sent high over the bar.
LIVE: @Mascherano is now #ARG's fourth centurion. #ARGIRN is his 100th cap #worldcup #joinin - http://t.co/an4xx357eb http://t.co/oyLPTCwLVJ— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) 21/06/2014 16:36
Iran spring a surprise on the Argentinian backline and take their free-kick quickly, but Pablo Zabaleta is able to recover and sweeps away the danger.
HIGH: The Estadio Mineirao let out a collective sigh as Messi's free-kick zips over the bar.
Lionel Messi is clipped by Teymourian and sets up a dangerous free-kick opportunity for Argentina just outside the area, precisely in the middle of the pitch.
Di Maria's cross is off the mark and misses his Albiceleste team-mates in the box entirely.
Don't forget, you can now take part in the Kick-Off Ball Contest!Take the quiz now, win the kick-off ball!
Argentina's No16's header is just wide. He rose up well but his effort wasn't accurate enough.
GREAT SAVE: Higuain plays the ball off to Aguero and hits it one time towards the far post but the Iranian keeper makes an excellent diving save to push the ball wide.
Argentina fly up the field on a counter after clearing the Iranian corner. Higuain is clear in on goal but his touch is off and Haghighi's backline clears the danger.
Andranik Teymourian cuts out an Argentinian pass and begins a counter-attack, but he is closed down quickly and gives up a throw-in.
Fernando Gago plays a great ball into Gonzalo Higuain, who gets a first-time shot off but Alireza Haghighi bravely shuts down the Napoli frontman.
Lionel Messi looks to take a quick shot from the top of the box but Iran's No11 closes him down and blocks his attempt.
Angel Di Maria does well to win the ball back and he beats a few defenders on the far side. He whips in a cross but there are now blue and white shirts in the box, and Iran's back line can clear.
Argentina are controlling most of the possession to start here in Belo Horizonte, but the Iranians are defending well and haven't given the South Americans a good look on goal yet.
Sergio Aguero shows some great skill and quickly turns towards goal but his first touch lets him down and he cannot recover before the ball goes out for a goalkick.
MESSI AND MARADONA
20 years ago today, Diego Maradona scored his last goal in a World Cup for Argentina. Today, Lionel Messi is playing in his 88th match for La Albiceleste, which puts him three behind Maradona’s 91 appearances, who is currently the sixth most capped player for Argentina.
Iran are whistled for two early fouls. This time the two No7s clash, and Masoud Shojaei is penalised.
Iran kick off to get us underway in Belo Horizonte
It's Iran's turn next, and the team are singing proudly as they grab each others' shoulders.
First up is Argentina's anthem, Himno Nacional Argentino, and the crowd is emphatically singing along.
The teams are walking out now, and the crowd are eagerly anticipating the anthem.
These are the most-popular line-ups chosen by FIFA.com users.
1 Sergio ROMERO, 2 Ezequiel GARAY, 4 Pablo ZABALETA, 15 Martin DEMICHELIS, 16 Marcos ROJO, 7 Angel DI MARIA, 11 Maxi RODRIGUEZ, 14 Javier MASCHERANO, 9 Gonzalo HIGUAIN, 10 Lionel MESSI, 20 Sergio AGUERO
1 Rahman AHMADI, 2 Khosro HEYDARI, 4 Jalal HOSSEINI, 5 Amirhossein SADEGHI, 15 Pejman MONTAZERI, 6 Javad NEKOUNAM, 7 Masoud SHOJAEI, 8 Reza HAGHIGHI, 14 Andranik TIMOTIAN, 21 Ashkan DEJAGAH, 16 Reza GHOOCHANNEJAD
Argentina had incredible support at the Maracana last Sunday when they beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1, and a similar crowd are shuffling into the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. Chants are ringing around the stadium as they applaud both teams heading back into the tunnel for their final talks before kick-off.
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The referee in Belo Horizonte for today's game is Milorad Mazic from Serbia.
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HEAD TO HEAD:
The pair’s only previous engagement dates back to 1977, when they took part in a four-team tournament to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of Real Madrid. Team Melli secured a 1-1 draw against the future world champions at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with Mohammed Sadeghi’s equaliser cancelling out Daniel Bertoni’s earlier penalty for the South Americans.
Argentina's coach has said that today's game against Iran is not an automatic win for La Albicelste.
“We have a 90-minute match to negotiate and football is the most unpredictable of all sports. Any team can win. We trust our players and believe we can win. But we should not think we cannot be defeated, that would be the worst mistake of all. We have to focus on the match and be humble from minute one to minute 90. There are no weak opponents and we cannot underestimate any team at a World Cup. We must show respect… Physically and mentally, Iran are a very strong team. I think they will cover the pitch very well and reduce opportunities and space for our players to play. They will also look for their own opportunities to score, possibly at set pieces."
Iran’s coach said ahead of today’s game that Team Melli are out to impress.
"Our first mission is to excel. Argentina are competing for the World Cup but we are going for a cup of our own, so to speak. We are here to compete with respect and dignity and play at the same level as Argentina, and to make it a worthy game. It's a hard test for us, no doubt, but this is the most anticipated game in history of Iranian football. We've never played against a team like Argentina and we wouldn't change it for the world. Our journey here was a very hard one, qualification was tough, but here we are with a wonderful opportunity to play against these fantastic players. Our responsibility is to play for the people, the fans, and to bring some joy to them."
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We all know the Argentina superstar has scored some great goals in his time with La Albiceleste, but take a look at this strike that helped Argentina top rivals Brazil in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Netherlands 2005.
Iran have drawn their last two World Cup fixtures. No Asian side has ever tied three in a row.
The starting XIs for the two sides have been announced!
#ARG LINE-UP: Romero, Garay, Zabaleta, Gago, Di Maria, Higuain, Messi (c), Mascherano, Rojo, F. Fernandez, Aguero #ARGIRN #worldcup #joinin— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) 21/06/2014 15:04
#IRN LINE-UP: Haghighi, Haji Safi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Nekounam (c), Shojaei, Timotian, Montarezi, Ghoochannejad, Dejagah, Pooladi #ARGIRN— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) 21/06/2014 15:04
ON THIS DAY IN 1998:
Exactly 16 years ago Iran achieved their first World Cup victory by beating USA 2-1 in Lyon thanks to goals from Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia, despite Brian McBride reducing the deficit in the closing minutes.
Learn a little more about Team Melli
Learn a little more about La Albiceleste
Hello and welcome to Saturday's first stop in our LIVE World Cup coverage, where Argentina and Iran are preparing to meet at the Estadio Mineirao. Follow along as we bring you the latest build-up ahead of kick off and of course the live minute-by-minute coverage once we get underway in Belo Horizonte. #Joinin on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to truly experience a social World Cup.
Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte