2014 FIFA World Cup: Nigeria and Iran play to scoreless draw

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

iran nigeria world cup
Neither Iran nor Nigeria could find the net Monday. (Getty Images)

More World Cup: Nigeria vs. Iran MatchTracker | Complete schedule

FINAL: Nigeria 0 - Iran 0

And there you have it. The first draw of the 2014 World Cup. It was not very exciting.

The result especially stings for Nigeria, who has visions of moving through to the knockout stage. That chance is still very much in play, but now they'll almost certainly have to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina. Chances are they aren't taking down Argentina.

It seemed for all the world that Nigeria would get a goal across early, as they constantly pressured the Iranian defense. But some bad luck and then overall poor play kept them from scoring, and, frankly, they were lucky to get out with a point.

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90' -- A late chance for Nigeria that's, you guessed it, cleared harmlessly. Another good chance headed out by Iran at the net.

86' -- The last five minutes have been mostly poorly-executed longballs and clearances. Just wanted to let you know I'm still here.

81' -- Meanwhile, here's a moving picture of everyone watching:

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77' -- Iran with a decent chance, again, but, again, the header comes off with a whimper. It will be a miracle if someone scores in this game.

75' -- Hey! A booking! Iran's Andranik Timotian earns a yellow card. Nigeria gets a shot off after the free kick, but nothing of consequence. A draw is a loss for the Nigerians, and they're nearly out of time.

67' -- Iran gets a decent chance at the top of the box, but the volley sails waaaay too high.

65' -- Nigeria give-away then Iran give-away then Nigeria give-away leads to Iran corner, which is poor.

63' -- Iran's Reza gives it a go from distance -- why not? -- though it bounds harmlessly away.

58' -- Nigeria gets another chance, but Emmanuel Emenike's shot sails well wide.

57' -- They're still playing. There have been fouls and shots and stuff, but nothing approaching a goal. Could we be heading towards the first draw of the 2014 World Cup?!

50' -- Prediction: Nigeria will continue messing around and end up losing. (I'm pretty good at predictions -- see Group G.)

Iran gets another chance but misses narrowly, then wastes a free kick.

47' -- The second half has started. A fair bit of falling and not scoring -- so it's much like the first.

Halftime: Sometimes when a game is expected to be bad or boring or poorly-played it ends up being so wacky it's fun.

That is not happening in the Nigeria-Iran game.

The Nigerians have dominated possession but can't find the net, while Iran has struggled to control the ball but have had some decent chances. Regardless, it has been rough.

Nigeria, who figures to move on, will be in terrible trouble if they end this game in a draw. But they keep seeing chances wasted; must be frustrating.

40' -- Nigeria has fired a couple of shots in the last few minutes. Neither particularly threatening.

34' -- Wow. Iran almost drives in a header off a corner. They've not had the ball much, but Iran has had a couple decent chances around the net.

32' -- Nigeria earns a free kick then a corner, but nothin' doin'. The corner was awful, in fact, sailing untouched out of bounds.

27' -- Nigeria has had possession 70 percent of the half. Just felt like sharing.

23' -- Surprisingly, Iran kinda generated a chance. They didn't manage a shot, but still!

21' -- Godfrey Aboabona carried off. Apparently an ankle injury.

18' -- Efe Ambrose sends a decent cross in that's caught by the keeper. Still no score, though the action has been almost entirely composed of Nigeria's attack.

16' -- Hats off to Iran. It's a minor miracle the Nigerians haven't scored yet. But it's coming.

9' -- It is target practice for the Nigerians. Somehow the miss two terrific chances in front of the net.

8' -- A great chance for Nigeria off the corner, but...something happened that drew the referee's whistle.

4' -- Nigeria with an early chance as Victor Moses turns and fires, but nothing doing. Not a bad look, though.

3' -- Important update from a colleague:

1' -- And we're underway. Iran opens with possession and immediately mashes it back to the Nigeria keeper. So now the Iran side is where its comfortable -- on defense.

Pregame

2:55 p.m. ET: Nigeria is known as the "Super Eagles," which is pretty awesome. I mean, eagles are cool enough, but these are SUPER eagles.

They are in green, Iran in white.

2:40 p.m. ET: When you gather 32 teams in any sort of tournament, there's bound to be a clunker of a matchup. This is it.

Still, this is something of an important game. Nigeria figures to be the team advancing alongside Argentina in a laughably bad Group F, so they can't afford anything but a win here.

Your lineups:

Iran: Alireza Haghighi, Khosro Heydari, Ehsan Haji Safi, Jalal Hosseini, Amirhossein Sodeghi, Javad Nekounam, Andranak Timotian, Peijman Montazeri, Reza Ghoochannejad, Ashkan Dejagah, Mehrdad Pooladi.

Nigeria: Vincent Enyeama; Efe Ambrose,Kenneth Omeruo,Godfrey Oboabona,Juwon Oshaniwa; Ogenyi Onazi, John Obi Mikel; Ahmed Musa,Ramon Azeez,Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike

Match Preview:

Not exactly the sexiest names in international soccer, but Nigeria and Iran will be battling for early position behind Argentina in Group F. Let's be honest: this is Argentina's group -- everyone else is playing for second place.

Nigeria boasts a solid attack behind a couple Premier League players in Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie. Those two, and Nigeria as a whole, should see plenty of chances against an over-matched Iran side.

Speaking of which, Iran has only one win in its World Cup history (against the United States in 1998) and that likely won't change Monday. Nigeria, too, hasn't seen much success, either, having failed to win a World Cup match since '98.

Something has to give Monday.

But make no mistake: Nigeria has a better-than-good chance to move through to the knockout stage. They must beat Iran, though, as a draw probably won't cut it.

More World Cup: Scoreboard | Schedule | Group Standings | U.S. Team news

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