Iran 0-1 Spain: Lucky Diego Costa Strike Downs Team Melli

21 June, 2018, 11:43 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Iran beat Morocco 1-0 in their opening game

The European giants will be slightly anxious going into this encounter, though, having been eliminated at the group stages in two of the past three World Cups in which they have failed to win their opening game.

"It's going be tight (with Ronaldo)", Hierro said. What he has done with Iran is incredible, really professional. There was also a touch of disbelief when Mehdi broke the Spanish offside trap and found himself in unfamiliar territory in the 17th minute; his wasteful end product represented the best Iranian chance of that half.

Their joy was short-lived though as the goal was ruled out for offside by VAR. Iran would rue a couple of more missed chances later in the half, both off floated balls into the penalty area, and that was that.

Sergio Busquets' drive from 20 yards was then parried by Beiranvand, who palmed the rebound away before Lucas Vazquez could pounce.

First place in the group could be decided by goal difference.

Few would argue that the Spanish did not deserve the three points given the way they dominated nearly all of the contest, but Team Melli deserve plenty of plaudits firstly for doing their best to keep their star-studded opponents at bay and then giving them a real scare after they had fallen behind.

And Hierro - in charge after Julen Lopetegui's shock sacking - accepted he actually felt happier after the draw with Portugal than after seeing his side beat Iran.

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The match lived up to billing in terms of the tactics: Spain played the merry-go-round with the ball in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Isco and Andres Iniesta frequently swapping positions.

However, fortune might not shine on them again in this tournament, so Hierro should ensure Spain make their own luck by utilizing all his options.

Spain is now unbeaten in 22 matches, with 15 of those wins.

Iran was unsafe from set pieces and its restless defensive display was impressive.

In the final quarter hour Iran battled for a late equaliser, but after Vahid Amiri showed class to nutmeg Pique deep on the left and fire over an inviting cross, Taremi's thundering header flew just over the bar as a relieved De Gea looked on.

Costa had a bust-up with Beiranvand toward the end of the first half after the Iran keeper went down in the box.

"What game were you watching", Costa replied. "We know we still need to improve but hopefully as we do that we will keep winning". We are the best national teams in the world.

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