2014 FIFA World Cup – Group F
Thursday, June 12 – Sunday, July 13, 2014
Host Nation: Brazil
Defending Champion: Spain
All odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
Argentina is a heavy favorite to win Group F in the 2014 World Cup. Argentina is also the second choice behind host nation Brazil to win the World Cup. Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran look like they are playing for second place in the group.
Let’s take a look at the four teams in the group with odds to win the group and the World Cup courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Argentina (-595 Group, +425 Cup)
Argentina is making their 16th appearance in the World Cup and 11th straight. Argentina has won two World Cups but none since since 1986. They lost in the final in 1990, but haven’t advanced past the quarters since then. Argentina was crushed by Germany 4-0 in the quarterfinals in 2010.
Argentina is #5 in the FIFA rankings. Argentina started off CONMEBOL qualifying with an unimpressive 1-2-1 record. However, they then went on a 14 match unbeaten stretch to complete qualifying and win the group easily with 32 points. Argentina scored 35 goals and allowed 15 in qualifying.
Argentina is coached by Alejandro Sabella, who took over after Copa America 2011. Forward Lionel Messi is considered by many to be the best player in the world. Messi scored 10 goals in qualifying. Forward Gonzalo Higuain scored 9 goals of his own in qualifying. Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria are also very good. The only weakness might be on the backline, and Argentina could win a lot of 4-3 and 3-2 games. Sergio Romero is a very good keeper though and might need to make some saves if the leaky defense allows some open space.
Argentina opens with Bosnia and Herzegovina, then plays Iran before closing with Nigeria in group play. Argentina should win this group with ease. Possible round of 16 opponents include France, Switzerland or Ecuador. I think Argentina makes a deep run in this tournament and could even make it to the final game against arch-rival Brazil.
Bosnia-Herzegovina (+665 Group, +22000 Cup)
Bosnia-Herzegovina is making their first appearance in the World Cup. However, they lost to Portugal in a playoff to qualify for both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. The nation was part of the former Yugoslavia but gained independence in the early ’90’s after the country broke up.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is #21 in the FIFA rankings. Bosnia tied with Greece with 25 points in their UEFA qualifying group. Bosnia got the automatic berth based on goal differential. Greece had to play Romania in a two leg playoff. Bosnia scored 30 goals in qualifying and conceded only 6.
Safet Susic is the coach for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Forwards Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic combined for 18 goals during qualifying. Midfielders Miralem Pjanic and Zvjezdan Misimovic are talented. Keeper Asmir Begovic plays for Stoke City in the English Premier league and is considered to be a top five keeper in that league.
Bosnia is the second choice in this group despite not being experienced . We will find out how good this team is right away as they open with Argentina before facing Nigeria and Iran. I think Bosnia ends up in second and qualifies for the knockout stage. They could provide a tough test for whomever survives Group E, but anything farther than the quarters would be asking a lot of this team.
Nigeria (+1100 Group, +40000 Cup)
Nigeria is making their fifth appearance in the World Cup since 1994, missing only in 2006. They made it to the knockout round in 1994 and 1998 but were eliminated in the group stage in 2002 and 2010.
Nigeria easily beat Malawi, Kenya and Namibia with 12 points in their African qualifying group, outscoring their foes 11-4. Nigeria beat Ethiopia 4-1 on aggregate in a two leg playoff to qualify for Brazil. In February of 2013, Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations and competed in the Confederations Cup later that year. The Super Eagles are #44 in the FIFA Rankings.
Nigeria is managed by Stephen Keshi. He became the first person win the Africa Cup both as a player in 1994 with Nigeria and a coach last year. He left several notable stars off the roster to the consternation of Nigerian fans and media. Midfielder John Obi Mikel plays for Chelsea and is a great two way player. He is one of the best in the world on set pieces. Striker Emmanuel Eminike is young but very talented. Forward Victor Moses is a dangerous scorer as well. Vincent Enyeama has long manned the net for Nigeria.
Nigeria opens with Iran, before facing Bosnia-Herzegovina and closing with Argentina. This team is young but talented and could make some waves in this group.
Iran (+4550 Group, +250000 Cup)
Iran is making their fourth trip to the World Cup and first since 2006. They have never made it out of the group stage, but they did beat the United States 2-1 in 1998 in France.
Iran is #43 in the FIFA rankings. Iran scored 22 goals in the preliminary qualifying round for Asia. However, they only scored 8 goals in the final qualifying round in 8 games. Still they topped the group with 16 points over favorite South Korea. Iran only allowed 2 goals in the final round and 7 overall.
Iran is managed by Carlos Queiroz, who managed Portugal in the 2010 World cup in South Africa. Midfielder and captain Javad Nekounam has 139 caps for Iran. Striker Reza Ghoochannejhad is only 26 but is already seen as a savior for the team. He scored 7 goals in qualifying. Ashkan Dejagah shores up the midfield alongside Andranik Teymourian. Rahman Ahmadi is the keeper.
Iran opens with Nigeria, then plays Argentina before closing with Bosnia-Herzegovina. Even winning a game in this group would be an achievement for this team.
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