The late game on Sunday kicks off Group F, the Least Exciting Group (on Paper) in This World Cup. I say that not because Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nigeria don't have some attacking weapons (they do, and you'll note I left Iran out there), but because Argentina and Bosnia are just so far ahead of Nigeria (and obviously Iran) that any drama in this group will take everybody by surprise. In the same vein, there is zero drama in our staff predictions for Group F.
The stakes are high for Argentina in this World Cup, but they will deliver in the group stage against a largely favorable draw. Messi and Co. will win the group, while Bosnia and Herzegovina will remind us that the old Yugoslavia had phenomenal soccer talent by taking second place in the group. Nigeria has the potential to beat the group favorites, but they fall short. Iran is happy to be in the show, and plays like it.
Adam M Taylor
Argentina will leave this group in such tatters that we'll all be annoyed by the "Are they the new favorites???" talk when the round of 16 gets underway. Bosnia will make up for their opening match loss to La Albiceleste by walking past a weak Nigeria side and a weaker Iran side. We will all yawn.
With Nigeria not playing well and Iran just happy to be there, Argentina outpaces the rest of the group by beating Bosnia soundly. Bosnia, in its first World Cup, settles for the happiest 2nd place ever.
This might be the easiest group to pick in the whole tournament. Argentina are among the favorites because they're loaded, and surely they'd love to spoil Brazil's party. Bosnia & Herzegovina have assembled a shocking amount of talent given their population and the fact that the Bosnian war was still raging 20 years ago. Nigeria looks like they're a few pieces short of being a threat, and Iran's mostly domestic-based side may be the worst team in the field. Argentina wins the group handily.
Argentina because CONMEBOL, and Bosnia because Nigeria has not really done much in the run-up to the tournament and there seems to be some discipline with a controlled hardness to the BIH squad that will allow them to feast on Iran and Nigeria to get through before quickly bowing out in the Round of 16.
Obviously Argentina will get out in first place, I don't think Bosnia and Herzegovina have quite the hold on second that some think. I might have said that Nigeria had a chance, but that was before their friendly against the United States. Will Iran shock the world and get out of the group? No, but they might make it at least interesting.
So, anybody care to go against the grain in the comments? Or is unanimity the theme of the day?