CURITUIBA, Brazil - Iran and Nigeria have something in common ahead of their World Cup clash in Curituiba.
When they meet on Monday at the Arena da Baixada, both teams will be bidding to win their first match in the World Cup finals since France 1998. With Argentina the clear favourite in Group F, Iran and Nigeria are expected to compete with tournament newcomer Bosnia-Herzegovina for second spot.
Iran's last victory at the World Cup was against the United States in one of the great geopolitical clashes. Their one appearance in the finals since, at Germany 2006, yielded a solitary point.
Despite haphazard preparations that involved a dearth of friendlies and financial constraints, Iran will be no pushover.
With Carlos Queiroz, a former coach of Real Madrid and Portugal, at the helm, Nigeria will find Iran difficult to break down.