World Cup - Group F
Argentina1Iran0

World Cup: Argentina 1-0 Iran

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Highlights: Argentina 1-0 Iran

Story of the match:

  • Iran have strong penalty claim rejected
  • Ashkan Dejagah's header saved
  • Lionel Messi scores 91st-minute winner
  • Argentina qualify for the last 16

Lionel Messi curled a stunning 91st-minute winner to send Argentina through to the World Cup knockout stage and rob the excellent Iran of a deserved point.

Iran spent much of the first half under pressure but more than once threatened to inflict what would have been a huge upset.

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Lionel Messi scores stunning goal in stoppage time

Argentina's celebrations at the final whistle were wild and prolonged, while the sight of coach Alejandro Sabella embracing Messi at the tunnel gave an indication of what this meant to the two-time champions.

The build-up was dominated by talk of a rift between Messi and Sabella, the captain having expressed his displeasure at the 5-3-2 formation used in the first half against Bosnia-Hercegovina when Messi also scored the decisive goal.

Sabella duly reverted to the Barcelona forward's preferred 4-3-3 and was rewarded by his star man at the last.

Key facts
Argentina have won 11 and lost just one of their past 14 World Cup group games, scoring 27 goals and conceding just five in total in this run.
Iran attempted just 130 passes against Argentina, the fewest made by a team in a World Cup match since 1966.
Lionel Messi has now scored 40 goals for Argentina.

Iran looked devastated at the end but must take immense confidence from a performance that combined defensive resilience with attacking adventure - and from the knowledge they could still qualify.

Carlos Queiroz's men actually created the first meaningful chance when Jala Hosseini headed wide from Ashkan Dejagah's free-kick, although Argentina then assumed control.

Javier Mascherano and Fernando Gago provided a solid base for Angel Di Maria and full-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Marcos Rojo to support Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi displayed superb reflexes to foil Higuain and save one-handed from Aguero. Rojo then headed narrowly wide, Messi was off target with a free-kick and Ezequiel Garay nodded inches over the bar. The Iran fans celebrated every reprieve like a goal.

Argentina were meeting a wall of resistance every time they attacked but Iran's impressive defending ought to have been no surprise - they kept more clean sheets in qualifying than any team at the tournament. And when not thwarting the South Americans' forwards, Queiroz's team again came close to a goal of their own with another Hosseini header.

Iran's preparations for the competition had been hampered by political sanctions that affected their funding and ability to organise friendlies, but they looked fully prepared and again came close to taking a shock lead through Reza Ghoochannejhad.

Masoud Shojaei surged forward and fed Pejman Montazeri to cross for the Charlton Athletic striker, who would have scored had his header been aimed anywhere other than straight at Argentine keeper Sergio Romero.

But the chance served to further bolster Iran's self-belief and after Dejagah had a strong penalty claim rejected by referee Milorad Mazic, the Fulham man was thwarted by Romero's fingertips as he met another Montazeri cross with a powerful header.

Messi worked hard to swing the momentum back in Argentina's favour, slotting wide after a quick break and sending a free-kick into the side-netting, while Sabella introduced Rodrigo Palacio and Ezequiel Lavezzi in place of Aguero and Higuain as his side pushed hard for a winner.

Still chances came for Iran, however, Ghoochannejhad nearly stealing the win, only for Romero to make a diving stop - and that miss proved costly when captain Messi stepped up with a wonderful finish into the far corner to send Argentina through with a game to spare and keep them on course for a first World Cup since 1986.

Iran's Reza Ghoochannejhad reacts after a missed chance against Argentina
Iran had chances to take a surprise lead against Argentina, with Reza Ghoochannejhad denied by a save from Sergio Romero
Argentina fans pray
Argentina fans were seen praying as the clock ticked down with the game still goalless
Argentina forward Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has scored eight goals in his last seven appearances for Argentina
Argentina forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Iran
Argentina only had one more shot on target than Iran
Iran defender Pejman Montazeri reacts at the final whistle after his team's 1-0 defeat to Argentina
It was all too much for Iran defender Pejman Montazeri, whose reaction at the end told a story

Line-ups

Argentina

  • 1Romero
  • 17Fernández
  • 16Rojo
  • 4Zabaleta
  • 2Garay
  • 7Di MaríaSubstituted forBigliaat 90+4'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 14Mascherano
  • 5Gago
  • 9HiguaínSubstituted forPalacioat 77'minutes
  • 20AgüeroSubstituted forLavezziat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Campagnaro
  • 6Biglia
  • 8Pérez
  • 11Rodríguez
  • 12Orión
  • 13Fernández
  • 15Demichelis
  • 18Palacio
  • 19Álvarez
  • 21Andujar
  • 22Lavezzi
  • 23Basanta

Iran

  • 12Haghighi
  • 5Sadeqi
  • 15Montazeri
  • 23Pooladi
  • 4Hosseini
  • 3HajsafiSubstituted forHaghighiat 88'minutes
  • 6NekounamBooked at 53mins
  • 7ShojaeiBooked at 72minsSubstituted forHeydariat 77'minutes
  • 14Teymourian
  • 21DejagahSubstituted forJahanbakhshat 85'minutes
  • 16Ghoochannejhad

Substitutes

  • 1Ahmadi
  • 2Heydari
  • 8Haghighi
  • 9Jahanbakhsh
  • 10Ansarifard
  • 11Haddadifar
  • 13Mahini
  • 17Alnameh
  • 18Rahmani
  • 19Beikzadeh
  • 20Beitashour
  • 22Davari
Referee:
Milorad Mazic
Attendance:
57,698

Match Stats

Home TeamArgentinaAway TeamIran
Possession
Home74%
Away26%
Shots
Home21
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home10
Away6
Fouls
Home7
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Argentina 1, Iran 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Argentina 1, Iran 0.

Javier Mascherano (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Amir Hossein Sadeqi (Iran).

Substitution

Substitution, Argentina. Lucas Biglia replaces Ángel Di María.

Goal!

Goal! Argentina 1, Iran 0. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Federico Fernández (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Reza Ghoochanneijhad (Iran).

Substitution

Substitution, Iran. Reza Haghighi replaces Ehsan Hajsafi.

Attempt saved. Reza Ghoochanneijhad (Iran) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Alireza Jahanbakhsh with a through ball.

Attempt missed. Marcos Rojo (Argentina) header from the centre of the box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Jalal Hosseini.

Substitution

Substitution, Iran. Alireza Jahanbakhsh replaces Ashkan Dejagah.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Alireza Haghighi.

Attempt missed. Rodrigo Palacio (Argentina) header from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Javier Mascherano.

Foul by Marcos Rojo (Argentina).

Reza Ghoochanneijhad (Iran) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Marcos Rojo (Argentina) left footed shot from long range on the right misses to the left. Assisted by Ezequiel Lavezzi following a corner.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Mehrdad Pooladi.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Pejman Montazeri.

Substitution

Substitution, Argentina. Rodrigo Palacio replaces Gonzalo Higuaín.

Substitution

Substitution, Argentina. Ezequiel Lavezzi replaces Sergio Agüero.

Substitution

Substitution, Iran. Khosro Heydari replaces Masoud Shojaei.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Andranik Teymourian (Iran) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Ángel Di María (Argentina) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marcos Rojo.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

Booking

Masoud Shojaei (Iran) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ángel Di María (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Masoud Shojaei (Iran).

Ezequiel Garay (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Javad Nekounam (Iran).

Corner, Iran. Conceded by Marcos Rojo.

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Amir Hossein Sadeqi.

Corner, Iran. Conceded by Sergio Romero.

Attempt saved. Ashkan Dejagah (Iran) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Pejman Montazeri with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Reza Ghoochanneijhad (Iran) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashkan Dejagah with a cross.

Corner, Iran. Conceded by Ezequiel Garay.

Corner, Iran. Conceded by Pablo Zabaleta.

Attempt blocked. Ehsan Hajsafi (Iran) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Javad Nekounam.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Brazil211024
2Mexico211014
3Croatia210123
4Cameroon2002-50

B

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Netherlands220056
2Chile220046
3Australia2002-30
4Spain2002-60

C

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Colombia220046
2Ivory Coast210103
3Japan2011-11
4Greece2011-31

D

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Costa Rica220036
2Italy210103
3Uruguay2101-13
4England2002-20

E

TeamPWDLGDPts
1France220066
2Ecuador210103
3Switzerland2101-23
4Honduras2002-40

F

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Argentina220026
2Nigeria101001
3Iran2011-11
4Bos-Herze1001-10

G

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Germany211044
2USA110013
3Ghana2011-11
4Portugal1001-40

H

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Belgium110013
2Russia101001
3South Korea101001
4Algeria1001-10
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