Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Isco stands out with 8/10 performance as Spain struggle to beat Iran

World Cup 2018: How to Watch Iran vs. Spain Germany loss a warning for Spain ahead of Iran clash
Frederick Owens | 21 June, 2018, 07:07

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.

Spain are looking to claim their first 2018 FIFA World Cup victory as they face Iran, who pulled off a shock victory against Morocco in their opening Group B game - here are the confirmed line-ups of both sides. Spain is coming off the thrilling draw vs. Portugal and needs a win over Iran to leap into the position many expected it to hold in the group.

On paper, Spain should be able to deal comfortably with Iran in the first meeting between the two countries but Germany's loss to Mexico in the first match of their title defence on Sunday was a warning to all the game's heavyweights.

The victor against Iran means he is one goal behind Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Golden Boot, but Costa is not focused on individual honours.

After a frustrating first half during which Spain could not find an edge to get past Iran well-organized defense, Costa broke the deadlock in the 54th minute after being set up by Andres Iniesta.

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.

"Everybody knows that our boys are fighters, and we will fight and we will keep our concentration until the very last second of the match".

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Iran nearly took the lead after the break when Karim Ansarifard shot into the side netting then Mehdi Taremi headed narrowly wide, only for Costa to deflate their chances.

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.

"It [the Iran performance] deserved a little better in this match, but that's football".

It appeared that Beiranvand exaggerated his pain after Costa stood on his foot.

Time and time again we've seen goalkeepers come off their lines time in a bid to be their team's hero and score the goal they so desperately need.

Spain continued to apply strong pressure in the second half and Beiranvand stopped a strike from Sergio Busquets in the 49th minute with a superb one-handed diving save.

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