Iran and Nigeria were both stuck in a draw 0 – 0 Monday at Arena da Baixada, making World Cup 2014’s first-ever goalless draw.
Nigeria was expected to be the stronger candidate, as they won the African Nations Cup on 2013. The lack of a striker, as described by The New York Times, seems to be the problem for the aspiring African team.
Nigeria had a relatively higher ball possession (63% compared to Iran’s 37%). However, the Iranian’s tough defensive plays all throughout the match pushed through Nigeria’s attempts on securing a goal.
Iran almost took a chance during the 33 – minute mark of the match when Ghoochannejhad attempted to strike a header from Dejagah’s corner pass, but was blocked by Enyeama.
Both teams were unable to make any chances to gain a point and secure a victory, which was described by SkySports.com as “a disappointing encounter.”
Saj Chowdhury of BBC Sports notes Iranian coach Carlos Queiroz: ”
We played against a great team and it was necessary to play a realistic game. We fought for every ball, every space and played 90 minutes with one thing in our mind. My players need to be congratulated.”
He further adds,”Now it’s Argentina and the most important thing is that everything is open to us.”
On the other hand, Stephen Keshi of Nigeria also comments at BBC Sports: “”Respect to Iran, they had their game plan to sit back and defend and they did well.”
“Win or lose I’m criticized. A draw now, I’ll be criticized. It’s part of the game. In my country, it’s win at all costs and sometimes it doesn’t go that way.”
Both teams are stuck at one point under Group F, with Argentina ranking first in the group and Bosnia and Herzegovina on last place.
Pressure surrounds Nigeria, the African champions, as they meet Bosnia and Herzegovina in Cuiaba, while Iran clashes with Argentina in Belo Horizonte. Both matches will be held on Saturday.