Stop the presses.
The World Cup has its first tie and the first goals-starved game, all wrapped up in 90, mostly humdrum minutes involving Nigeria and Iran that elicited the occasional jeer from a crowd made up primarily by Brazilians, who tend to find a lack of scoring boring.
A draw was inevitable. Twelve prior matches had ended with a winner and loser.
It was a double shutout.
The average of 3.42 goals per game was unsustainable. Every previous encounter had been blessed with at least three scores other than Mexico-Cameroon, in which two goals were mistakenly wiped off by phantom offside infractions.
Nigeria could not convert even with a ball possession edge of 69% to 31% and seven corner kicks.
If standings were kept for moral victories, Iran would be 1-0.
A defensive mind-set clicked for a soccer program so cash-strapped that the federation reportedly forbade the players from indulging in the common postgame ritual of exchanging jerseys with the opponent. (If shoe-swapping were the tradition instead, Nigeria might have had trouble giving away its pastel-colored footwear.)