Jun 21, 2014 at 5pm UK at ‚ÄčEstadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
Argentina
1-0
IranIran
Messi (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Nekounam (53'), Shojaei (72')

Player Ratings: Argentina 1-0 Iran

Sports Mole looks at which players impressed during Argentina's 1-0 win over Iran in the World Cup this evening.

Argentina were indebted to the brilliance of Lionel Messi for the second successive game after his last-minute goal earned his side a place in the second round of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran.

Below, Sports Mole assesses how each player performed for their respective sides in the Group F fixture.


Argentina players pose for a team photo before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Iran at Estadio Mineirao on June 21, 2014© Getty Images

ARGENTINA

Goal

Sergio Romero: It was questionable whether Sergio Romero would be Argentina's first-choice goalkeeper before the start of this tournament, but he has justified his inclusion with a second strong display. Made two solid saves to keep his side on level terms. (8/10)

Defence

Pablo Zabaleta: This was a poor outing from Pablo Zabaleta, who frequently found himself bettered by Dejagah. Lucky not to concede a second-half penalty. (6/10)

Federico Fernandez: Like in the Bosnia-Herzegovina match, Federico Fernandez looked shaky when operating in a back four, and he had to rely on the experience of his teammates to ensure that he got through the game without making an error. (6/10)

Ezequiel Garay: This wasn't the best of performances from the Benfica man, but his experience counted when Iran started to gain a foothold in the game in the second half. (6/10)

Marcos Rojo: The best of the back four due to his effectiveness in both defensive and attacking areas. Provided several testing crosses for the strikers. (7/10)

Midfield

Javier Mascherano: Got embroiled in a war of attrition with Teymourian, and neither man was prepared to give an inch. Does the ugly work for his side to great effect. (6/10)

Fernando Gago: Assisted Mascherano in the middle of the park, but didn't provide much help in the final third. (6/10)

Angel di Maria: The Real Madrid midfielder was always a threat, but his final ball was off in this match. Sabella could be struggling to find his best position. (7/10)

Attack

Lionel Messi: Once again, Lionel Messi struggled in open play for large parts of the match but he won the three points for his side with a world-class finish. Could have earned himself a rest for the Nigeria game. (8/10)

Sergio Aguero: This was another poor performance from Sergio Aguero, who looks a shadow of the player who scores freely for Manchester City. Likely to be dropped against Nigeria. (6/10)

Gonzalo Higuain: Was drafted into the side after starting on the bench against Bosnia, but the Napoli forward had little impact on this match. Was deservedly substituted with 20 minutes to go. (6/10)

Substitutes

Rodrigo Palacio: Provided his side with greater urgency in the final third and almost broke the deadlock with a header at the far post. (7/10)

Ezequiel Lavezzi: Like Palacio, looked like a man who was eager to take his opportunity, and he delivered a lively cameo that could see him start in the next game. (7/10)

Lucas Biglia: No time to make an impact. (5/10)


: Iran players pose for a team photo before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Iran at Estadio Mineirao on June 21, 2014© Getty Images

IRAN

Goal

Alireza Haghighi: It wasn't the most conventional of performances from the goalkeeper, but it was effective. Made several routine stops but had no chance with the goal. (8/10)

Defence

Pejman Montazeri: Was given the task of having to deal with Rojo and Aguero on the right, and the Umm-Salal defender did everything asked of him throughout the 90 minutes. (8/10)

Mehrdad Pooladi: Like his teammate, Mehrdad Pooladi had to perform double duty against Zabaleta and Messi, and despite the result, he can be pleased with his performance. (8/10)

Jalal Hosseini: The pick of the defence, but would have been disappointed not to have hit the target with two headers in the first half. (8/10)

Amir Hossein Sadeqhi: Combined with Hosseini to stifle Higuain that resulted in the Napoli striker being replaced. Like many of his teammates, could do nothing about the goal. (8/10)

Midfield

Javad Nekounam: The 142-cap veteran was key in creating attacks for his team, but failed to engineer any openings for himself. Will be devastated about the result as much as anyone. (8/10)

Masoud Shojaei: A workmanlike showing from the Las Palmas midfielder. Could be pleased with his efforts before he was replaced late in the second half. (8/10)

Andranik Teymourian: The former Bolton Wanderers and Fulham man relished the chance to go toe-to-toe with Mascherano, while also producing moments of flair, albeit in his own half. (8/10)

Ehsan Hajsafi: Got into shooting areas on more than one occasion. Was unlucky to see his deflected effort go wide from 20 yards. (8/10)

Ashkan Dejagah: Strong, committed performance from the Fulham winger. Gave Zabaleta a difficult 90 minutes and almost opening the scoring with a diving header from the penalty spot. (8/10)

Attack

Reza Ghoochannejhad: Endured a frustrating spell with Charlton Athletic during the second half of the season, but the 26-year-old took his chance to put himself in the shop window with an excellent display. However, he should have done better with an effort from eight yards in the opening exchanges after the break. (8/10)

Substitutes

Khosro Heydari: Replaced the tiring Shojaei with 13 minutes to go. Did nothing spectacular, but helped his team before Messi's match-winning strike. (6/10)

Reza Haghighi: Introduced with two minutes of normal remaining, but couldn't get his side over the line. (6/10)

Alireza Jahanbakhsh: Had little chance to get time on the ball, but in the one moment he did, sent Ghoochannejhad through on goal, but the striker failed to take the chance. (7/10)


Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during the Group F football match between Argentina and Iran at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil on June 21, 2014
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