2018 World Cup
Result: Iran 0-1 Spain
Date: 20 June 2018
Venue: Kazan Arena
Diego Costa bagged his third goal at the 2018 World Cup as Spain defeated Iran 1-0 in their second Group B encounter on Wednesday night.
Iran were playing with numbers behind the ball from the word go and frustrated La Furia Roja, who were looking for an early goal.
Spain were camped out in the Iran half for the most part of the opening 30 minutes, but they struggled to find openings in the final third.
Carlos Queiroz’s charges were doing well in stifling Spain of space in their defensive third, although they were living dangerously.
David Silva had a chance on the stroke of half-time for La Roja but he could not capitalise as the first stanza ended goalless.
Eight minutes into the second half, Spain broke the deadlock as a clearance by Iranian defender Ramin Rezaeian ricocheted off Costa and sailed into the back of the net, 0-1.
The Iranians had no choice but to get out of their defensive shell and looked threatening whenever going forward.
Saeid Ezatohahi thought he had scored an equaliser for Iran in the 64th-minute but his goal was ruled out by the assistant referee, while the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) could not find anything to reverse the decision.
Queiroz’s troops continued to threaten as the second half went on, with Mehdi Taremi heading over the crossbar at the far post on 81 minutes.
Spain were looking to get the second goal with five minutes remaining but they could not carve out another chance.
La Roja managed to keep Iran out at the back in the closing stages to claim a hard-fought 1-0 win.
The win sees Spain move level on points with Portugal atop Group B, while Iran and Morocco are third and fourth respectively, with the Africans already eliminated from the Russia showpiece.