Nigeria are hoping to extend their undefeated streak in international matches against Iran, in a fixture with there is no room for error as World Cup favourites Argentina and wildcards Bosnia-Herzegovina are also featuring on the same group.
The Super Eagles lost Monaco left-back Elderson Echiejile with a torn hamstring injury in a friendly against Greece. This however is not the end of manager Stephen Keshi’s problems as there have been disputes between the players and the Nigerian Football Federation over appearance fees. Nevertheless, Keshi has got the rest of the roster available on his disposal and will be looking for Chelsea’s Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel to pull plenty of weight on midfield and the flanks.
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz is leading perhaps the competition’s biggest underdogs but is fortunate enough to have no problems regarding injuries. Charlton Athletic’s Reza Ghoochannejhad will undoubtedly be the team’s target man and much will be expected by Fulham’s Ashkan Dejagah on the wings. The experience of former Osasuna midfielder and team captain Javad Nekounam could prove to be extremely valuable.
KICK-OFF: Monday, 8pm
Iran 0 Nigeria 1 (Garba), International friendly, January 1998
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz was Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United for a total of five years and also took over at Real Madrid for just 10 months.
Former Everton defender Joseph Yobo is the most capped player in the history of Nigeria’s national with 96 appearances.
Nigeria are the only African nation to qualify in undefeated fashion in the World Cup alongside Ivory Coast.
Iran have only won one in nine World Cup fixtures – the team never made it past the group stage.
The Iranian Lions are undefeated in their last four friendlies as they have beaten Trinidad and Tobago and drew Angola, Montenegro and Belarus. The Super Eagles, on the other hand, failed to win any of their last four warm-up games as they lost to USA and drew Scotland and Greece.
Iran to win: 11.4
Nigeria to win: 5.4
TV: Live on BBC One at 8pm
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