Spain made to work for victory over fearless Iran

Lynette Rowe
June 21, 2018

Costa netted for the third time in this tournament in the 54th minute which remained the only goal in the match with Spain producing yet another unconvincing display after the 3-3 draw against Portugal in their opening match.

Costa, who scored twice in a 3-3 opening draw with Portugal in Sochi, courted controversy early in the Group B encounter when he stepped on the toes of Iran 'keeper Ali Beiranvand as he waited to kick the ball out.

The Iranians had no choice but to start getting off their defensive shell and were threatening whenever they went forward. After Iran almost opened the scoring, Diego Costa scored his third goal of the campaign at the opposite end.

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Spain are strong favourites for the Iran clash in Kazan, as they go in search of their first group-stage victory.

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.

"When we arrived, no-one gave us a chance, but we still fight for our dreams".

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Iran will take confidence from this defeat but Spain will be frustrated that their dominant possession can not be turned into goals, but for the moment there will be relief in the Spanish camp that they held on for three points.

Iran had their closest of chances eight minutes later when Saeid Ezatolahi pulled of an equaliser off a free-kick as the mid-fielder drive the curler past De Gea from a close range.

"But this was our first match point, if we compare this to tennis, our second match point comes against Portugal".

Iran managed to survive conceding a second in the 70th minute following a scramble inside their penalty box, and there was still everything to play for entering the final 20 minutes of action in Kazan.

Hierro brought winger Lucas Vazquez into his starting side in place of midfielder Koke, seeking more dynamism to break down Iran's wall.

It appeared that Beiranvand exaggerated his pain after Costa stood on his foot. Amiri megs Pique down the left and delivers a luscious cross but one hit with just too much pace, so Mehdi can't get above it. he makes a great connection, but smashes his header just over the bar.

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