Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi saved Argentina’s blushes against Iran to fire his nation into the knockout stages.
Despite dominating possession Argentina had trouble in breaking down the Iranians, who appeared to be heading for a remarkable share of the spoils.
Iran even came close on several occasions to take the lead.
But Messi produced a brilliant stoppage time winner to send the South Americans into the last 16.
Messi’s delightful curling effort however failed to hide a lacklustre performance from one of the tournament favourites who will need to improve if they want to go deep into the competition.
Super Eagles fly closer to last 16
Nigeria got themselves on track to progress to the last 16 out of Group F after beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in their second fixture in Cuiaba.
Stoke City’s Peter Odemwingie scored the only goal of the evening on the 29th minute to offer his nation the ideal boost ahead of their final group match against Argentina next week.
The result means the Super Eagles are second in the group two points off already-qualified Argentina and three clear of Iran – Bosnia are eliminated
Klose equals World Cup goals tally
Miroslav Klose equalled Brazilian Ronaldo’s record 15 career World Cup goals when he stabbed home to help Germany salvage a 2-2 draw with Ghana in Group G.
Mario Goetze got Germany off the mark on 50 minutes before Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan scored within nine minutes of each other to put the Africans on course for an upset.
But on 71 minutes Klose poked in from close range to salvage the draw which means if the USA beat Portugal on Sunday in Manaus the Stars and Stripes will qualify for the last 16 for a fourth time in seven appearances whilst also eliminating Portugal.
Portugal against the World Cup wall
The team news for Portugal doesn’t read well.
Paulo Bento’s side will be without central defender Pepe following his red card against Germany on Monday.
Full-back Fabio Coentrao has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament after sustaining a thigh injury in that game.
Goalkeeper Rui Patricio and striker Hugo Almeida also picked up muscle injuries and are doubtful for the tie in the challenging conditions of Manaus.
Aiming for the stars
Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA head into the game on a high after seeing off Ghana in their opener and know now that a win will send them through to the last 16 thanks to Ghana’s draw with Germany.
The Americans will be without star striker Jozy Altidore who suffered a hamstring strain against Ghana but Clint Dempsey will feature despite breaking his nose in that game.
A win for the Stars and stripes will advance them to the last 16 for the fourth time in seven straight appearances.
Kompany a doubt for Russia
The Red Devils of Belgium head into their second match with Russia at the Maracana Stadium leading Group H following Tuesday 2-1 win over Algeria.
Coach Marc Wilmots’ only injury doubt lies with skipper Vincent Kompany, who sustained a groin strain.
The player himself has told reporters he will be fit in time to play although if that’s not the case Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Ciman or Nicolas Lombaerts will deputize.
Russia are coming off the back of an opening 1-1 draw with South Korea.
Coach Fabio Capello has no injury worries and is expected to keep faith with goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev despite his blunder that gifted the Korean’s their goal.
Since the break up the Soviet Union Russia have failed to make it out of the group stage on their two previous World Cup appearances – a win on Sunday will go long way in helping them reach the last 16 for the first time.
We might be wrong
Keep on sending us your predictions, on the social networks, using the #TheCornerScores.
In the meantime, let’s have a look at the predictions of the euronews sports team for the next three games.
We tip Belgium to beat Russia 2-0 and take a step closer to the last 16.
We feel it will end in a share of the spoils between South Korea and Algeria in Porto Alegre while much to the disappointment of our Portuguese colleague the general consensus is that the USA will send Portugal home with a 2-1 win.
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