MX23RW : Sunday, July 22 00:05:46

Live Commentary: Iran 0-0 Nigeria - as it happened

Sports Mole's live commentary of Iran's clash with Nigeria in Group F.

Iran and Nigeria played out the first draw of the World Cup with a 0-0 result at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.

The Asian side were content to settle for the draw, while Nigeria lacked any really quality in the final third, despite dominating possession for large periods of the game.

Shola Ameobi's introduction from the bench saw the Super Eagles carve out their best chance of the game towards the end, but in truth a goalless finish was a fair result.

See how the action unfolded below.

7.08pmGood evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of Iran's clash with Nigeria in Group F at the World Cup.

7.10pmTeam news is just in here, so without further ado...

7.12pmIRAN: Haghighi; Heydari, Haji Safi, Hosseini, Sadeghi; Nekounam, Teymourian, Montazeri, Ghoochannejad, Dejagah; Pooladi

7.15pmNIGERIA: Enyeama; Ambrose, Oshaniwa, Oboabona, Omeruo; Mikel, Onazi, Azeez, Musa, Moses; Emenike

7.18pmTo recap on this afternoon's action then; Germany strolled to a 4-0 victory against 10-man Portugal, as the Iberian nation capitulated following the sending-off of Pepe towards the ends of the first half. Thomas Muller scored a hat-trick while Mats Hummels headed one in of his own. You can catch the match report for the game here.

7.20pmArgentina set the pace on Sunday evening when they beat Bosnia 2-1 in Group F's opening game, and both teams will have designs on joining Alejandro Sabella's side at the top later this evening.

7.23pmCarlos Queiroz's side are something of an unknown quantity at this World Cup, although Ashkan Dejagah is a name that is familiar to English football fans. The Fulham man scored one of the goals of the Premier League season last term against Crystal Palace, and we'd certainly settle for something similar this evening!

7.27pmNigeria are a tad more familiar, with the likes of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses involved, as well as seasoned campaigners such as goalkeeper and captain Vincent Enyeama.

7.30pmPerhaps with one eye on the Argentina game, Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has insisted that his Super Eagles side will head into their World Cup campaign with little respect for the reputations of others in Brazil.

7.32pmHe told reporters: "I think this is an open tournament, we just have to do what we have to do. I don't see big names or big countries. Of course with due respect [to the] teams that are there, but it is an open tournament."

7.34pmMeanwhile, Joseph Yobo believes that this evening's game will be the toughest of the group, despite having to play Lionel Messi and co further down the line.

7.36pmThe former Everton defender told reporters: "Every game is a big as it comes, we don't underestimate anything. We know that they came here to win as well. Both nations are trying to win and the first game is always the most difficult game."

7.39pmIran boss Queiroz told BBC Sport: "To play a second World Cup in a land where football is a second nature, there is nothing better. When you are in the World Cup, everything is open. It doesn't matter who you compete against, anything can happen."

7.41pmQueiroz: "We've crossed the hell of qualifying, now it is the heaven. We just have to enjoy it. We look to bring honour, joy and prestige to the Iranian people."

7.44pmIran will also look to Reza Ghoochannejhad to fire the goals for them in Brazil. The Charlton Athletic striker is his side's biggest goal threat, but it is at the back where they shine. They kept 10 clean sheets in qualifying - more than any other team. However, despite being ranked as Asia's best team, the World Cup will be a huge step up in quality.

7.48pmAccording to FIFA, there is not a lot between these two teams. It's 43rd (Iran) against 44th in the world rankings. However, the world's governing body have not always been known for reliable gauging of ability through their rankings. Switzerland are currently number six, while Brazil have slipped down the pecking order due to their lack of competitive matches over the last two years.

7.51pmChelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has described how Keshi has changed the style of the Super Eagles' play. Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: "I think he's brought a lot to the team. He's brought in a more European style. We're very organised without the ball and very effective when we have it as well."

7.54pm"We know exactly what is coming and it's up to us if we're ready or not. We're very united as a team.
It's going to be tough, they're very together, they play together as a team and teams like that are very hard to beat. We'll find a way, first game is the key. First game is important and we want to get off to a winning start."

7.55pmThe two teams are just emerging out of the tunnel, so we're around five minutes away from kickoff. We'll run through the pre-match formalities of the handshakes and national anthems, and then we'll get underway...

8pmSo we're just moments away from kickoff at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.

0 minsKICKOFF We're up and running.

3 minsCHANCE! Early shot comes in from Victor Moses who cut inside from the left before firing it straight down the keeper's throat. Lively start from the winger.

5 minsThe Nigerians have started more confidently and have had most of the ball.

8 minsEmineke skips past a challenge on the left but Hosseini blocks the cross. Victor Moses swings the corner in and Nigeria have it in the net through Musa, but the referee had blown long ago for a foul on goalkeeper Haghighi.

9 minsCHANCE! A couple of chances for Nigeira. Emineke strong as an ox down the left and his ball across the six-yard box is almost turned in by Musa, before Onzai drills it wide inside the area. The Africans have started really well, but Onazi is struggling after stretching.

10 minsIran will have to contain for the next few minutes. They're getting overrun and just need to take the sting out of things.

14 minsA rare foray forward for Iran ends with a Nigeria goal kick as Ghoochannejad heads it wide. Victor Moses has started well for Nigeria here, moments earlier he embarked on a mazy run that took him past a number of defenders before he just overran it.

17 minsIran are struggling to get out of their own half at the minute here, all the pressure is coming from the left side for Nigeria, but they will have to make their dominance count at some point. John Obi Mikel has the freedom of the park in midfield, and he's picking his passes at will.

20 minsNot a lot happening at the moment here. Iran have been really poor so far. The nerves seem to be getting the better of one or two of them out there. Ashkan Dejagah gave it away needlessly to Mikel in midfield earlier on.

23 minsOboabona is currently struggling off the pitch with an injury and Nigeria have played the last few minutes with a man fewer. Keshi obviously wants to keep his defender on if he doesn't have to swap him. He's being given every chance to recover, and it looks as though he'll come back on shortly...

26 minsSome nice approach play from Nigeria, but it's all in front of Iran. They need to start trying something in behind the defence and try to pull the centre-backs out of position. Iran are well organised and they'll be happy enough defensively so far.

29 minsMus did well to race past Montazeri, but he just overran slightly again. Positive from Nigeria though, trying to open Iran up a touch more. The Asian side are happy to have nine men behind the ball, and they're making it difficult for Nigeria to play through them.

30 minsSUBSTITUTION: Yobo comes on for Oboabona, who is unable to continue after his ankle injury. This is Yobo's 98th cap.

32 minsMusa tries to catch the goalkeeper unaware with a shot when he was expecting a cross from a free kick and Haghighi had to scamper back and palm it away for a corner. The corner is too deep for everyone and goes out for an Iran throw in.

33 minsMontazeri's long throw causes a few problems and Iran have a corner...

34 minsCHANCE! Well wouldn't that have been typical! Ghoochannejad met it really well and it looked to have been sneaking in, but Enyeama to his credit kept his concentration to deny the Charlton striker. Great goalkeeping, because he's had nothing to do.

37 minsEmineke is proving to be a handful, but it's all out wide. Nigeria will want him more centrally where he can get on the end of things. He's put some good crosses in, but the African side will surely benefit more from having him attacking the centres, rather than supplying them.

39 minsHigh, wide and not very handsome from Onazi. He's belted it in from around 40 yards, and it went nowhere near the goal. A waste from the Lazio man. Still Nigeria have another attack and Moses feeds Oshaniwa down the left but again it just goes out before the full-back can deliver the cross.

44 minsEmineke is unhappy about a challenge after jumping with a defender, but there's not much in it and the official tells the striker to get up. Iran will be more than content with how they've coped with Nigeria's attacks. They're happy to bide their time and try and nick things from set pieces it seems. We're nearly into stoppage time here...

45 minsSuperb long ball from Mikel to pick out Musa, who has been Nigeria's liveliest player, but his chest down can't find Emineke. There's a less than half-hearted shout for handball, but everyone accepts it wasn't.

8.47pmHALF TIME: Nigeria 0-0 Iran

8.55pmWell, Iran will certainly be pleased with how that panned out. Initially, Nigeria looked bright, but Iran defended well for large parts. And the African side looked a little short of ideas in the final third. Musa has been a bright spot for Nigeria. Iran have offered virtually nothing as an attacking force, but had the best chance through Ghoochannejad's header.

8.59pmSo as things stand, Argentina will top the group with three points, with Bosnia bottom. There's still ample time for Nigeria to grab a comfortable victory, but the longer it stays 0-0, the more Iran will feel that they can nick it.

9.02pmIt will be interesting to see what Keshi does with his forward options. Emineke has been able and Musa has been bright but as a whole they haven't carved out enough. The second half is just about to get underway...

45 minsKICK OFF Here we go then...

46 minsIt's burly striking play from Emineke as he takes it past two with pace and power before he's eventually crowded out by Pooladi. Better from the striker though, he was in a central position and it was positive.

48 minsAzzez's poor cross is blocked and Nigeria win a corner...Victor Moses's delivery was atrocious, what a waste from the Chelsea winger. His second attempt is better but no one is near the keeper who nervously punches it away.

50 minsGhoochannejad picks up a loose ball on the edge of the box and dips back onto his favoured left, but his effort swings wide of Enyeama's goal. Better from Iran though, they will need more of that this half.

51 minsSUBSTITUTION Victor Moses comes off Shola Ameobi.

52 minsThe former Newcastle striker will certainly offer a more direct central threat than Moses did. We will see if it has the desired effect...

54 minsAzeez swings in a near-post delivery aiming for Ameobi but it was well defended and Nigeria have a corner...

54 minsAzeez rivals Moses for worst corner of the game, it is cleared by the first man with ease again. Nigeira have been wasteful this half from set-pieces.

57 minsAgain, it's desperately poor from Nigeria in the final third. It's easy for Iran to deal with as Emineke swings in rushed cross for Ameobi.

58 minsMikel with some nice incisive passing forward and it eventually drops to Ameobi on the edge of the box who finds Emineke, but the striker wastes it with a blazed shot well wide. Still, a glimpse of what can happen when a through ball with some guile is played correctly.

62 minsMore poor crossing from Nigeria as Efe Ambrose's centre is blocked by Dejagah. Possession from the Africans, with not a lot in the final third. The last thirty seconds have encapsulated the story of this match. The Nigerian fans are beginning to voice their disapproval with some boos.

65 minsMikel throws caution to the wind and tries a long-range effort, but it's blocked straight away. A counter-attack appeared on but Yobo wins it back before Montazeri gets it and wins corner with a blocked cross for Iran...

66 minsDejagah's cross reaches Sadeghi wide left and Emineke fouls him. Big chance for Iran. They've been waiting for a chance like this...

67 minsIt was fizzed to the near post and it was blocked up into the air before Iran come again. A low ball eventually reaches Ghoochannejad but his spin and shot sees the ball fly up well over the bar.

69 minsPeter Odemwingie is preparing to come on, it looks like he'll replace Azeez who appears to have picked up some cramp...

70 minsSomething of a legitimiate goal threat for the Super Eagles now in the shape of Odemwingie. Can he provide some quality inside the penalty area? We shall see. Ameobi climbs well to meet a cross but he leans into his marker and concedes a foul.

73 minsWell, Stephen Keshi must be furious on the side. Musa has a man over wide right as he drives into the box but his pass out wide is too heavy and it drifts out of play. It's desperately poor from him, and the side as a whole.

76 minsBOOKING! Adranik goes in the book for a cynical foul of Odemwingie. First yellow of the game.

77 minsOnazi jinks past a challenge in midfield from Mikel's quick free kick but the Lazio man's effort is tame. Meanwhile, up the other end, Enyeama does well to read the Iran cross and deny Dejagah. First-rate goalkeeping from the Nigerian.

78 minsThat was a chance for Iran, Dejagah gets ahead of the ball and jumps too early at the back post. He can only succeed in heading it back into the six-yard box. If he had timed that right, it was a free header at goal. That is his last act as he makes away for Jahan Bakhsh.

80 minsAndranik tries his luck from 25 yards, but he doesn't get hold of it and it trickles wide. Iran are starting to get numbers forward though, Nigeria will be a bit nervy for the final 10 minutes or so...

83 minsOdemwingie burst into life there, but unfortunately he was pulled back for handball. It came off his right shoulder as he flicked it past his man and volleyed a left-footed effort just wide on the edge of the box.

85 minsVery calm defending from Omerou as he backheels it to Ambrose with Andranik chasing him down in the corner. It doesn't look like we're getting a goal in this one, five minutes plus stoppage time remaining...

87 minsAmbrose delivers a deep cross to Ameobi at the back post. The striker wins it but it loops up and is easily held by Iranian goalkeeper Haghighi.

90+1 minsCHANCE! Great ball in from Oshaniwa. It really invites Ameobi to attack it and it's cleared by Pooladi. Amoebi then wins the corner before Pooladi again clears with a head. Too little too late, though, you feel from Nigeria.

9.51pmFULL TIME: Iran 0-0 Nigeria

9.52pmWell, I'm afraid to say that was without doubt the worst game of the World Cup so far, and I hope we don't have a repeat performance anywhere else throughout the Brazil competition. A bore-draw in every sense.

9.53pmIt will be painful to dwell on that result. Nigeria were poor in the final third - plenty of bluster and endeavour, but they had little up top. It's looking like it'll be Bosnia and Argentina qualifying from Group F.

9.56pmWell, that's all from me. A World Cup classic it wasn't, but join us again for live commentary of USA's clash with Ghana which will get underway in the next five or minutes.

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Iran national football team coach, Carlos Queiroz, arrives for the final draw of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia state, Brazil, on December 6, 2013
Read Next:
Keshi: 'Queiroz is Iran's biggest weapon'

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