Spain Edge Iran 1 – 0
Spain strengthened their position in Group B of the World Cup with a 1 – 0 victory over Iran Wednesday night.
Iran are renowned as a defensive team. However, many pundits expected Spain to have far too much firepower for their opponents.
This was not the case, though. When the teams went in 0 – 0 at half time, Spain knew it was going to be a tough night.
Spain played like the team we all know and love. They played at a technically high level, trying to pass the ball through tight spaces to create an opening. The problem was, Iran had prepared for this style.
At times the game looked like an attack VS defense training drill. Of course, Iran were perfectly happy with this, putting the onus on Spain to come forward.
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Incredibly, before the game kicked off, Iran were in a stronger position than Spain. Their 1 – 0 victory over Morocco meant an unlikely win over Spain would have qualified them for the knockout stages.
The Spaniard’s 3 – 3 draw with Portugal meant they had to win to keep their qualification fate in their own hands.
The Morocco game was tight, and they won due to a last minute own goal. No one could have argued with Iran hoping for something similar against Spain, and they nearly did it.
The deadlock was broken in the 54th minute when Diego Costa scored. The striker received the ball in the box, turned smartly and appeared to finish well.
Video replays showed that the Iranian defender initially blocked the ball. However, it deflected off of Costa’s knee and past the keeper into the bottom corner.
On the balance of play, it was a deserved goal. Iran only came forward once they came behind, and they thought they scored an equalizer. Ezatolahi poked the ball into the net after a scramble in the box, but it was ruled out for offside by VAR.