Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Spain beat Iran 1-0 to move closer to knockout stage

Spain beat Iran 1-0 to move closer to knockout stage

Iran national football team lost to Spain 1-0 in Group B of the 2018 World Cup here at the Kazan Arena on Wednesday.

Diego Costa's fortuitous 54th-minute goal proved enough to see off the Iranians and means Spain will guarantee a top-two finish in Group B if they take a point off already-eliminated Morocco.

Carlos Queiroz's side produced a defensive masterclass to reduce Spain to nothing more than half-chances during a hugely frustrating opening 53 minutes for the 2010 champions.

Striker Diego Costa did brilliantly in the box to turn his marker but his initial shot rebounded of the legs of the defender and ricocheted off his knee and into the net to give Spain a 1-0 lead.

But Hierro insists the problems posed by Iran - who thought they had equalised only for Saeid Ezatolahi's effort to be ruled out by the video assistant referee - indicate there can be no guarantees in Russian Federation.

Spain was lucky not to concede toward the end as Mehdi Taremi connected with a cross from Ansarifard, but his header from close range went over the crossbar.

With three points from two matches, Iran still have a chance of qualifying if they can get a result against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal on Monday.

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David Silva sent a free kick straight into the arms of keeper Ali Beiranvand in the 25th minute for Spain's first shot on goal.

Spain: De Gea; Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Silva; Vazquez, Costa, Isco. Cautious optimism will be the order of the day, and Iran boss Carlos Queros side will be looking for a similarly defensively strong performance against one of the favourites for the World Cup. Iran is denying Spain all the space.

Not every game will be like this, and most opponents are sure to show more endeavour than Iran, who utilised a similar park-the-bus approach in their 1-0 win over Morocco.

Iran did their utmost to frustrate the 2010 world champions in a clash of styles, but Diego Costa eventually opened the scoring with a scrappy 54th-minute victor that ended up the evening's only goal.

New Spain boss Fernando Hierro, will be confident that those mistakes will not be repeated again, at that Spain can get their campaign back on track with a victory.

While only one of them was a clear-cut opportunity Silva dropped deeper after the break and looked to gather the ball further away from goal. It was a defense-first game, with only a single goal scored throughout.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 Iran vs Spain match will take place on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

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