Spain beats Iran in 1-0 victory at World Cup

Spain beats Iran in 1-0 victory at World Cup

There was no doubt a goal was coming and Silva was involved in the build-up to Diego Costa's second-half victor in the 1-0 victory.

Iran needed a late goal to top Morocco by a final score of 1-0.

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.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz had rung in the changes, dropping captain Masoud Shojaei and forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh to the bench, while recalling holding midfielder Ezatolahi from suspension and promoting Mehdi Taremi.

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

But the Persians kept their shape superbly, restricting Spain to a handful of chances from David Silva in the first half.

That near-miss was brought into sharp focus less than 60 seconds later when Costa picked up Andres Iniesta's pass inside the area and saw Rezaeian's attempted clearance ricochet off his leg and past the helpless Beiranvand.

Diego Costa was the star against Portugal with a brace, but Iran are likely to be rather more compact than the European champions. We all know it's tough to play them. Whose side are you as the Spaniards take on the Iranians? Both the team look to have arrived in their best form for tonight.

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The game is live on both Viu TV (channel 99 ) and Now TV World Cup channels (618 and 619 ). The Portugal coach had run out of politeness.

- Spain have been eliminated at the group stage in two of the last three World Cup tournaments in which they've failed to win their first match (1998 and 2014) - however, they won the tournament on the other occasion, doing so in 2010 despite losing their first match to Switzerland.

Not every game will be like this, and most opponents are sure to show more endeavour than Iran, who utilised a similar park-the-bus approach in their 1-0 win over Morocco.

On a rare counter goalkeeper David De Gea was left irate when Taremi rose to head a metre wide.

It was far from a handsome win, but the goal was enough to make Spain coach Fernando Hierro smile.

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He now leads the way in the race for the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot, with four strikes to his name. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys.

Costa has now scored nine goals in his last nine global starts for Spain. It was a defense-first game, with only a single goal scored throughout.