South American powerhouse Argentina leads a potentially difficult Group F. Joining them are reigning African Cup of Nations champions Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Argentina is led by arguably the best player in world football Lionel Messi. Supporting him is a number of stars such as Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano. After back-to-back quarterfinals appearances in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, the Argentinians will hope to break the trend and progress further, and maybe even win it all to add a third World Cup trophy to their collection.
Fresh off the 2012 AFCON title, the Super Eagles will be looking to advance past the group stage for the first time since 1998. Finishing last in the group in the past two World Cups, Nigeria will be expected to showcase some of the skills that led them to AFCON glory last year. Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel will hope to lead the Super Eagles out of the group stages and further. As long as they are the last African nation standing, though, I’m sure they’ll be happy.
Iran is in a similar boat as Australia in Group B. Drawn into a group with three teams that they are almost guaranteed to lose to, the Persian Stars will hope to play the role of spoiler in Brazil. They have never made it past the group stage in three previous appearances, and that streak is unlikely to be broken in 2014.
The Golden Lilies are led up top by big man Edin Dzeko, and will look to his goal-scoring prowess to lead them to the round of 16. Putting together an impressive resume in 2013, Bosnia-Herzegovina made it all the way up to 13 in the FIFA World Rankings in August. Miralem Pjanic will pull the strings in the midfield to hopefully find Dzeko multiple times, while the rest of the team will be relying on stalwart goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to keep a clean sheet.