- Spain beats Iran 1-0
- Diego Costa nets his third goal in two games
Spain beats spirited Iran 1-0 in at Kazan Arena. Diego Costa scored the winning goal of the match and his third goal of World Cup 2018 in the 54th minute. The ball deflected off his legs from an attempted clearance by hapless Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian.
After today’s match, Spain is at joint top of Group-B with Portugal on four points. Iran is at third place in the group and is on three points. Only team which is not in its way out of this tournament is Morocco.
After a match played out to a deafening blare from vuvuzela horns from a huge army of Iranian fans, Spain will feel relieved to have emerged with a win. Iran was brilliant in defence for much of the night but also made a number of telling incursions.
A goal by Saeid Ezatolahi was cancelled because of offside after being reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR), while Karim Ansarifard had earlier hammered into the side netting.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz had some changes in the line up before the game. He dropped captain Masoud Shojaei and forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh to the bench, while recalled holding midfielder Ezatolahi from suspension and also fielded Mehdi Taremi.
Spain was well ahead in ball possession and passing accuracy throughout the match, Iran was successful in restricting Spain to a handful of chances in the first half. Ball possessions of Spain and Iran were 30% and 70% respectively.
Spain and Iran will face Morocco and Portugal respectively in their last group league matches.