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Scoreless Nigeria, Iran play to tournament’s first draw



After 12 games, 41 goals and numerous exciting sequences, the 2014 World Cup has finally had its first clunker.

Group F’s scoreless draw between Nigeria and Iran gave this year’s tournament a set of firsts: first draw, first scoreless game and, most importantly, the first game that lacked any true excitement.

It was Nigeria that dominated most of the contest, as the African nation maintained 69 percent possession on the afternoon. However, it was a sloppy affair for both sides, as the two teams combined to put just five of their 19 shots on frame. The  contest was defined by cohesive defenses matched up with a complete lack of cohesion on offense, with opportunities few and far between for either side.

Perhaps the best opportunity of the game came in the 35th minute when Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made the toughest save of the day from a Reza Ghoochanneijhad header right in the center of the box.

Nigeria nearly claimed all three points from a stoppage time corner via substitute Shola Ameobi, whose thumping header was cleared off the line by Iranian defender Mehrdad Pooladi.

With the draw, both sides push themselves ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who fell to Argentina 2-1 last night.


  1. Nigeria robbed by yet another poor call of fouling the goalkeeper. Watch the replay ~7:00. Mikel adjudged to foul the keeper. His offense: jumping straight up while the goalkeeper jumps into him. To make it even more absurd, two Iranian defenders made at least as much contact on their keeper as Mikel did.

    The refs need to review this rule about fouling goalkeepers. Contact is allowed.

  2. Keep in mind, of course, that Nigeria is coached by a guy who would have brought Bright Dike if he’d been healthy, yet left out Obafemi Martins.

    • Had the exact same thought while watching this painful match. A 2-0 friendly win over Nigeria now looks like the minimum result we should have expected. The African teams have been very disappointing so far, with only Algeria’s match against a tough Belgian team remaining in the set of first games.

      • The thing is: in terms of the US and Ghana, we still don’t have a reference point. Comparing results from a friendly to results in a World Cup match isn’t just “apples and oranges,” it’s “apples and drawings of oranges.”

  3. The only good thing about these 2 teams is that both will be bounced out by vastly superior Argentina and Bosnia sides.

    Good riddance!

    • Iran was playing like Greece with 10 guys behind the ball. There was nothing Nigeria could do but end in long balls. However their guy leading the line was not a tall guy.


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