Little is expected of Iran and Nigeria at this World Cup, though given that they've been drawn alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina in the group, there's always the chance they could find themselves sneaking through into the knockout stages behind Argentina. However, if they are to do so, they really ought to pick up victory in this winnable opening match.
Iran's main focus heading into the World Cup has been on defensive organisation, with coach Carlos Queiroz drilling his team into a very disciplined unit. Nigeria may have the better squad on paper, though Stephen Keshi's side will have to work hard to create space and goalscoring opportunities.
Ghosts of '94
Ghosts of '94
However, rather more of a concern is how much Iran have to offer going forward. Winger Ashkan Dejagah will be a constant outlet out wide, and striker Reza Ghochannejhad was in some excellent form in qualifying. But should Nigeria manage to keep that duo quiet, then they probably won't have a great deal to do defensively -- other than avoiding getting complacent.
Nigeria certainly have the firepower to cause Iran damage, with Victor Moses, and Ahmed Musa likely to be given the task of attacking Iran down the flanks. Look for John Obi Mikel to play a little more ambitiously than he does for Chelsea, too, safe in the knowledge that he has the talented defensive midfielder Ogenyi Onazi behind him to hold the fort. Peter Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike are expected to start up top.
Match Date/Time: Monday, 4 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET
Venue: Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, Brazil
TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), ESPN Deportes, Univision (U.S. - Spanish), CBC (Canada - English), Univision Canada (Canada - Spanish), Mediaset Italia (Canada - Italian), BBC One (U.K.), beIN Sports Arabia 11 HD, beIN Sports Arabia 1 HD (Iran), SuperSport 3 Nigeria, SLGO, SuperSport Select, SuperSport HD 3 Nigeria, SuperSport 3 Africa (Nigeria)
United States announcers: Derek Rae, Efan Ekoku
Online: Watch ESPN (U.S. - English), Univision Deportes En Vivo (U.S. - Spanish), CBC Sports Live Streaming (Canada), BBC iPlayer (U.K.)