Iran v Spain 20 June 2018

Sheila Mcguire
June 21, 2018

Iran's dream of reaching the knockout stage of the World Cup survived Wednesday's loss to Spain and coach Carlos Queiroz promised his team would give their absolute all to take their second chance against his native Portugal next week.

Spain, though, saw out the win to join Portugal on four points at the top of the group following their victory earlier in the day, while Iran are one point adrift ahead of the final round of group matches. The powerful striker turned in the area and took a shot that deflected off Ramin Rezeian before bouncing back onto Costa's knee and into the net.

Spain could not managed to get a second despite their best efforts while Iran nearly scored an equaliser when Mehdi's powerful header hit the crossbar.

Iran went down narrowly to Argentina at the last World Cup with a similarly battling performance only, exhausted by their efforts, to lose 3-1 to Bosnia and Herzegovina in their final group match.

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

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Spain: De Gea; Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Silva; Vazquez, Costa, Isco. That has only happened twice before in World Cup history.

Diego Costa was the star against Portugal with a brace, but Iran are likely to be rather more compact than the European champions.

You can watch the stream of the match from Kazan Live & Exclusive on beIN SPORTS CONNECT. "They were provoking us, and we were on the grass all the time".

Former Ireland midfielder Roy Keane looked suitably unimpressed when ex-West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said that he had sympathy for Spain following their 1-0 win over Iran on Wednesday.

Not an impressive result for Spain, who didn't look almost as sharp in attack as they did in the 3-3 draw against Portugal to open the tournament.

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Costa has now scored nine goals in his last nine worldwide starts for Spain.

Iran kept a firm head on all fronts, despite David Silva's attempted volley that sailed over the crossbar after 30 minutes.

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