Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Iran frustrated by Spain

Iran frustrated by Spain

But the Iran striker got his bearings wrong, and Spain, whichever way you see their 1-0 win, got away with it.

A goal by Saeid Ezatolahi was ruled out offside after being reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR), while Karim Ansarifard had earlier hammered into the side netting.

What's the one thing you don't want to do when representing your country on an global level in a sport you love in front of dozens of television cameras?

This looks like it could be Isco's World Cup, with the Real Madrid midfielder proving to be the most effective player on the Spain team.

The goal was given to Costa, but the Atletico Madrid forward needed a huge slice of luck as Iran defender Hosseini smashed the ball against the 29-year-old inside the box, and it dropped into the bottom corner of the net. Iran played toe-to-toe with Spain and deserved more from the match, but Spain's central defense made some important stops, got the victor in the second half and held on to move into a tie for first place with Portugal in Group B.

Spain seemed rejuvenated after the interval, with Sergio Busquets unleashing a searing long-range strike that forced Beiranvand into a brilliant double save.

Iran could have scored in the 80th minute but Mehdi Taremi's header went over the bar.

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England started the first half with a noticeable high-press that discomforted their Tunisian counterparts. "It's massive to get the win".

Costa's goal proved the difference between the sides.

Iran, making their fifth appearance in the World Cup final, face Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Saransk five days later.

Hierro was thrown into the deep end after being appointed just before the finals started, replacing Lopetegui, who was sacked for accepting a future role at Real Madrid without telling the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

It was not until the 25th minute that Spain had a shot on target, with Silva sending a free kick straight into the arms of keeper Ali Beiranvand.

In the final quarter hour Iran battled for a late equaliser, but after Vahid Amiri showed class to nutmeg Pique deep on the left and fire over an inviting cross, Taremi's thundering header flew just over the bar as a relieved De Gea looked on. "If you have a team defending very deep with 10 players, there is less space, and it is more hard to carry out your game", Hierro said.

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

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