Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Lucky Spain top Group B after win against Iran

World Cup 2018: How to Watch Iran vs. Spain Germany loss a warning for Spain ahead of Iran clash
Cassandra Castillo | 21 June, 2018, 07:09

Boasting Asia's meanest defence, 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. Furthermore, no yellow cards keeps them ahead of Portugal at the top of the group on fair play record.

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.

Former Ireland midfielder Roy Keane looked suitably unimpressed when ex-West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said that he had sympathy for Spain following their 1-0 win over Iran on Wednesday.

MF Andres Iniesta, 6 - Among the Spain players who struggled to find a way through the massed ranks, although he did play the clever ball through to Costa that led to the opener.

The disruptions to Iran's preparations for the tournament were more geo-political in nature with United States sanctions against the nation costing them a couple of their warm-up matches and their kit deal with Nike.

Iran was later denied an equaliser by the video assistant referee as the got a word in his ear that "goal-scorer" Saeid Ezatolahi was in fact offside.

The win sees Spain move level on points with Portugal in Group B, while Iran and Morocco are third and fourth respectively. They will make the last 16 with any kind of positive result against Morocco, but they should be in the last-chance saloon, ruing the carelessness that saw them wobble after Diego Costa's fortunate goal appeared to break the most obdurate of opponents. "We're still alive and dreaming".

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

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.

Costa was accused of standing on the foot of Iran's Ali Beiranvand.

Iran's Mehdi Taremi misses a chance to score.

From an unedifying grind, the game suddenly roared into life, and minutes later, Karim Ansarifard had latched onto a poor clearance and fired just wide of the left post.

He said: "I think there are 32 great teams here at this World Cup and no-one is giving anything away, so anyone who thinks it is going to be very easy to score and win by a landslide is wrong".

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