Match Analysis: Iran 0-0 Nigeria

Match Analysis: Iran 0-0 Nigeria
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Sports Mole's analysis of Iran's goalless draw with Nigeria on Monday evening.

Iran and Nigeria played out the first draw of the World Cup so far with a 0-0 scoreline at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba on Monday evening.

Nigeria dominated possession for large parts of the game, but struggled to break down a resolute Iran side who were content to dig in and defend.

Shola Ameobi had the Super Eagles' best chance towards the end of the game, but in truth neither side deserved the victory.

Below Sports Mole takes a closer look at the action.

Match statistics

Shots: 9
On target: 1
Possession: 30
Corners: 2
Fouls: 18

Shots: 10
On target: 4
Possession: 70
Corners: 7
Fouls: 16

Was the result fair?

It was. Neither team deserved to win for different reasons. Iran rarely ventured out of their own half and were content to hold on for the 0-0, but Nigeria were culpable for a distinct lack of quality in the final third. Neither team ever looked like scoring, save for Vincent Enyeama's excellent stop to deny Reza Ghoochannejhad's header at the end of the first half.

Iran's performance

Unadventurous, uninspiring and nine men behind the ball for the entire game. Carlos Queiroz came for a draw and to be fair to the Portuguese, he got that. It was a truly startling lack of ambition in an attacking sense, but Iran showed why they are renowned as defensively solid.

Nigeria's performance

The Super Eagles were really poor in the final third. They kept the ball well, but failed to drag a well-drilled Iran out of position in an attempt to carve anything out. Ahmed Musa was bright in the first half, but faded in the second. Peter Odemwingie and Shola Ameobi's introduction helped somewhat, but you fear for the Africans now for the rest of their group.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Ahmed Musa: A tough one as not too many stood out. Emmanuel Emineke was always willing, while Musa had a decent first half. John Obi Mikel was content to rack up his possession stats but rarely threatened with a meaningful ball going forward.

Biggest gaffe

Mikel attempted to throw caution to the wind in the second half and let loose with a long-range effort in an attempt to rise his team from their lethargy. However the Chelsea midfielder only succeeded in smashing it straight at an Iran player two yards away and the Asians went straight up the other end and threatened.

Referee performance

Carlos Vera didn't have much to do. He gave one yellow to Andranik Teymourian for a cynical foul on Odemwingie. Other than that, it was a quiet night for the official.

What next?

Iran: A daunting-looking clash with Argentina now awaits Iran on Saturday. Their defensive organisation will really be put to the test by Lionel Messi and co.

Nigeria: The Super Eagles play Bosnia on Saturday also. That game will be interesting as it will surely go a long way to deciding who goes through alongside Argentina, who are widely expected to top the group following Sunday's victory against.

Nigerian Coach Stephen Keshi in the dugout for a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Calabar in November 16, 2013
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