Lucky Diego Costa goal sees Spain past tenacious Iran

Bessie Dean
June 23, 2018

Iran's 49 completed passes in the first half is the second lowest figure in a World Cup game since 1966. The kickoff of the second half, however, saw the Spanish side pick of momentum in their chase for a goal, creating a couple of chances.

Spain's Andres Iniesta and Diego Costa during a training session in Sochi June 14, 2018.

Trailing in the second half, Iran almost equalized when Saeid Ezatolahi had a goal was ruled out on video review.

Dani Carvajal told AS after the game that while he has no problem with defending deeply and committing fouls, "Iran's time-wasting, pretending to be injured or hurt - to me, that's not football, it's disloyal".

Spain and Portugal are tied at the top of Group B with four points each, one more than Iran. Do not cut, copy or lift any content from this website without our consent.

Confirming that 'keeper David De Gea would start against Iran, Hierro said he wants "a win that would give us an advantage in the group".

Hierro, who scored 29 goals in an 89-cap career with Spain, was promoted from his role as sporting director in time for their crunch opener with Portugal.

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Iran fans all but tore their hair out late on when Vahid Amiri brilliantly nutmegged a defender to send a cross into Mehdi Taremi, but the forward sent a very gettable header from six yards out sailing over.

They said his style of play was not right for the national team.

Fernando Hierro had an abrupt answer to those asking questions about his tactics and strategies at the World Cup. "I hope things carry on this way, as long as the team does well out of it". "We're a team and we have to stick together".

Social media has exploded over a weird "phenomenon" involving Spain and their World Cup-winning former coach.

The former Chelsea man also admitted that he had a helping hand from Lady Luck to score what would be the game's crucial goal.

Boasting Asia's meanest defense, Queiroz's well-drilled Iran were typically grudging, but they will again rue the lack of a clinical touch after a number of chances went begging.

Ultimately, Spain should have too much quality for Carlos Queiroz's side, and if they can call on any of the attacking prowess they showed against Portugal in their opening game, they should be comfortable winners. Iran, meanwhile, face Portugal on the same day needing a win to progress at the expense of Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.

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