Nigeria, Iran in a must win clash

Nigeria, Iran in a must win clash

Planet Football looked altogether different the last time Nigeria or Iran, who kick off their Group F adventure at Curitiba's box-like Baixada Arena on Monday, won a match at a World Cup.

Back then, in another millennium, Brazil were the reigning champions while Spain wondered whether their long record of failure would ever end. 

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was a sprightly 60-something, Neymar only six and Lionel Messi a 10-year-old talent in the making.

Since France 1998, when Nigeria were a power to be reckoned with after beating Spain and Bulgaria to top their group, the Super Eagles have struggled to get off the ground in the tournament proper.

This time, however, they have every chance of making a flying start. Monday's is a match both sides will see as a must-win if they are to have any chance of progressing.

Squads: Iran: 1. Rahman Ahmadi, 2. Khosro Heydari, 3. Ehsan Haji Safi, 4. Jalal Hosseini, 5. Amirhossein Sadeghi, 6. Javad Nekounam, 7. Masoud Shojaei, 8. Reza Haghighi, 9. Alireza Jahan Bakhsh, 10. Karim Ansari Fard, 11. Ghasem Hadadifar, 12. Alireza Haghighi, 13.

 Hossein Mahini, 14. Andranik Timotian, 15. Pejman Montazeri, 16. Reza Ghoochannejad, 17. Ahmad Alnameh, 18. Bakhtiar Rahmani, 19. Hashem Beikzadeh, 20. Steven Beitashour, 21. Ashkan Dejagah, 22. Daniel Davari, 23. Mehrdad Pooladi.

Nigeria: 1. Vincent Enyeama, 2. Joseph Yobo, 3. Ejike Uzoenyi, 4. Ruben Gabriel, 5. Efe Ambrose, 6. Azubuike Egwuekwe, 7. Ahmed Musa, 8. Peter Odemwingie, 9. Emmanuel Emenike, 10. John Obi Mikel, 11. Victor Moses, 12. Ebenezer Odunlami, 13. Juwon Oshaniwa, 14. Godfrey Oboabona, 15. Ramon Azeez, 16. Austine Ejide, 17. Ogenyi Onazi, 18. Michael Babatunde, 19. Uche Nwofor, 20. Okechukwu Uchebo, 21. Chigozie Agbim, 22. Kenneth Omeruo, 23. Shola Ameobi.