FIFA World Cup//Match Reports
by Marcus Leach
Iran 0-0 Nigeria
Iran and Nigeria played out the World Cup's first goalless draw at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba on Monday.
The first half was a dour affair with only a few chances of note. Iran keeper Alireza Haghighi was almost caught out of position as Ahmed Musa's curling free-kick looked as if it was heading in. However, Haghighi scrambled across and palmed the ball around for a corner.
And it was from a corner that Iran came so close to taking an unlikely lead, especially given they had spent most of the half defending. It took them close to thirty-five minutes to really threaten, but when they did it almost paid off. Reza Ghoochannejhad forced a fine save after Ashkan Dejagah's whipped in a lovely corner and suddenly Iran had more of a spring in their step.
Neither side managed to control the game, all too often giving away possession far too easily. Iran never stopped running, but their enthusiasm lacked any real quality or control to make it a telling effort. Nigeria on the other hand, boasting several big name players, were poor and will, on this performance, struggle to trouble either Germany or Bosnia-Hercegovina.
On tonight's showing it would be a huge surprise if either of these sides make it through to the knockout stages, still, this is the World Cup and, as we have already seen, anything can happen.