Costa secures Spain's first win with a 1-0 victory over Iran

Costa secures Spain's first win with a 1-0 victory over Iran

Costa secures Spain's first win with a 1-0 victory over Iran

Its very much the spirit that many sides of similar quality of Iran have approached this World Cup, as just four of the 20 games have been decided by more than a one goal difference so far, with nine of those finishing 1-0.

The squad, which has faced an uphill battle at the soccer tournament partly thanks to worldwide sanctions, had a goal taken away in the second half of Wednesday's loss, missing out on the potential equalizer during the tense match.

However, consultation with the video assistant referee saw the goal correctly ruled out for offside.

They must now go on to beat Portugal in their final game to be in with a chance of progressing from Group B.

An unfazed, well prepared Iran lined up in a 6-4-0 (or was it a 7-3-1?) formation in the manner of the proverbial Jose Mourinho bus; a back line of six served as their last line of defence (which had kept 18 clean sheets in their last 22 matches). Said Queiroz: "We deserved a better result". "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.

And this leaves the group really tight for the finish. But he admitted his crucial match-winner came down to "luck". It's been 36 minutes into the game now and both the teams are yet to score their opening goal.

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Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates before it was disallowed after a VAR review.

Spain edged out a gallant Iran in an absorbing contest to ensure they will reach the World Cup knockout stage with a win in their final group game.

Costa, who grabbed a brace in the 3-3 draw against Portugal, was in the right spot at the right time, his lucky deflection leaving the masses of Iran fans at Kazan Arena groaning in disappointment. The forward scored when Ramin Rezaeian's attempted clearance bounced off the Spaniard's leg and into the net in the 54th minute.

Asked about his gesture afterwards, Costa lashed out by claiming Iran had been the main culprits.

Although Diego Costa's name will go down as a decisive figure of this game, his goal was very fortuitous, and he was a non-factor outside of his goal, having less touches of the ball than goalkeeper, David De Gea.

Queiroz had no doubt about the size of the task facing his side when he spoke to the worldwide media on Tuesday, accepting "Iran don't have supermen like Spain, but we can do super things" as he plotted the unlikely downfall of a team battling suggestions of crisis.

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