Iran vs Spain: 2018 FIFA World Cup highlights, scores, blog

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    IR Iran vs Spain

    2018 FIFA World Cup Group B

    Kazan Arena, Kazan Russia
    IR Iran Spain
    0 SCORE 1
    2 Corners 6
    2 Yellow Cards 0
    0 Red Cards 0

    Match result:

    Spain secured three points in Kazan in predictable style, although the scoreline tonight underlines Iran’s impressive defensive effort.

    A solitary goal to Diego Costa in the 55th minute opened up the game, and it proved to be the only score in a game that had one goal disallowed (for Iran) and several others cleared or saved on the line.

    Iran were expected to sit deep and contain Spain’s final ball, and they didn’t disappoint. Their 6-3-1 formation in the low block was always going to be tricky for Spain to break down, and in the first half Spain were reasonably well nullified.

    Isco and Silva were tireless on the ball, controlling and working possession like fine artisans while teaming with Andreas Iniesta – one of the progenitors of tiki-taka – to penetrate down Iran’s left. But despite the weight of possession (81 per cent at the half) Spain could not find a way past the Fort Knox of the Iranian defence.

    The second half started on-trend, but Diego Costa’s goal – which won’t make any highlight reels as it bounced from Costa to defender to Costa’s knee which then ricocheted past Iranian keeper Beiranvand – broke the game wide open.

    From that point Iran moved the bus out of the driveway and tried to play against Spain. They opened up the park, traded space behind the back four for attacking options and took the Spanish on.

    They made two excellent chances, one that lead to the disallowed goal for offside, and the other a point blank header that soared over the bar from Medhi Taremi. With a bit more luck Iran could have clawed a result from this game, despite finishing with only 22 per cent and offering seven shots (none on target) to Spain’s 18 (5 on target).

    Final score
    Iran 0
    Spain 1

    Match preview:

    In a must win game, Spain, are up against unlikely Game 1 winner and Group B leader Iran in Kazan. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 4am (AEST).

    This is a must win game for Spain, who have been the backroom story of the tournament so far. Their three-all draw with Portugal in the opener was an early nomination for game of the tournament; a soaring affair that saw Spain dominate possession (62 per cent) but go behind twice before conceding the win in the 88th minute.

    It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s night, and his individual moments of brilliance extorted 3 points from the superior Spain team.

    All eyes were on Spain to spot a wrinkle in the team’s unity and resolve after the sensational sacking of manager Julen Lopategui.

    Spain’s patient possession-based build up play was at its fluid best under acting manager Fernando Hierro, but the final ball was often frustrated by the stoic Portugese defence.

    Spain’s 12 shots (5 on target) to underlines how they hoard possession, but the efficiency was stifled by Portugal who, like Iran, fixate on defensive structure first before quick transitions into attack.

    Iran, on the other hand, were flag-bearers again for the Asian game by weathering a dour match to defeat Morocco with a last minute (own goal) winner. Like Portugal, they permitted Morocco to own the ball (with only 37 per cent possession) and similarly gave up 13 shots to the North Africans with only 3 on target.

    Their star man AZ Alkmaar’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh (the Dutch Eredivisie’s top scorer) was solid and effective while lacking the dark magic of a Ronaldo to lift his team off his own boot. Luckily for Team Melli, Aziz Bouhaddouz’s head did that for them.

    The stakes will be high for this. Iran are unlikely leaders in Group B and now have a real (albeit improbable) chance of upsetting either Spain or Portugal to get out of the group. A point here controls their destiny in game 3 and heaps enormous pressure on the Spaniards.

    Given Iran’s defensive mandate and tactical similarity to Portugal (they are managed by former Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz), they will hope to absorb as much of Spain’s incisive through-balls as possible and frustrate them into leaving space behind the midfield.

    Their young, quick and talented attackers Jahanbakhsh and Sardar Azmoun will want to run and test Pique and Sergio Ramos.

    Spain will see this game as an opportunity to announce their arrival in the tournament. Iran may sit back, but Isco and Silva’s inventiveness between the lines and Diego Costa’s brute force look enough to get the job done.

    The Spanish midfield as a unit are the masters of misdirection and they should be able to break down Iran in ways the lone-wolf Argentinians struggled to do 4 years ago in Brazil.

    Prediction
    The World Cup can throw up some unpredictable upsets, and this World Cup has been no different. But as much as Asian football fans might want to see Iran soak up Spain and get something out of this game, Spain have too many weapons for an Iran win (or draw) to be anything more than a Hail Mary.

    Expect Spain to come out on top after a couple after extensive chains of possession.

    Spain 2-0.

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    The Crowd Says (91)

    The Roar Live Blog: Latest comments displayed at the top of the page | Click here to jump to leave a comment

    • Roar Guru

      6:29am
      Lucas Gillard said | 6:29am | ! Report

      MATCH SUMMARY

      Spain secured 3 points in Kazan in predictable style, although the score line tonight underlines Iran’s impressive defensive effort. A solitary goal to Diego Costa in the 55th minute opened up the game, and it proved to be the only score in a game that had one goal disallowed (for Iran) and several others cleared or saved on the line.

      Iran were expected to sit deep and contain Spain’s final ball, and they didn’t disappoint. Their 6-3-1 formation in the low block was always going to be tricky for Spain to break down, and in the first half Spain were reasonably well nullified.

      Isco and Silva were tireless on the ball, controlling and working possession like fine artisans while teaming with Iniesta – one of the progenitors of tiki-taka – to penetrate down Iran’s left. But despite the weight of possession (81% at the half) Spain could not find a way past the Fort Knox of the Iranian defence.

      The second half started on-trend, but Diego Costa’s goal – which won’t make any highlight reels as it bounced from Costa to defender to Costa’s knee which then ricocheted past Iranian keeper Beiranvand – broke the game wide open. From that point Iran moved the bus out of the driveway and tried to play against Spain. They opened up the park, traded space behind the back 4 for attacking options and took the Spanish on. They made two excellent chances, one that lead to the disallowed goal for offside, and the other a point blank header that soared over the bar from Taremi. With a bit more luck Iran could have clawed a result from this game, despite finishing with only 22% and offering 7 shots (none on target) to Spain’s 18 (5 on target).

      Iran will take heart from their final 30 minutes, and will be inspired to go at Portugal in their final group game. Needing 3 points against a Portugal team who also like to sit back, Iran could open that game up and try and utilise their attacking threats, like Taremi, who put in a good show against one of the most talented back 4s in the world.

      Spain will be pleased with the 3 points but will have wanted more. In the final 30 minutes they squandered some good chances and will be disappointed not to have stolen another goal to add to their difference tally. With Portugal only scoring once in their earlier game against Morocco, Spain might reflect on the final 30 minutes as an investment they didn’t make.

      Midfielder Isco was man-of-the-match and spent the night forwarding his Golden Ball credentials. Isco’s passing, spatial awareness and interplay with Silva and Iniesta kept the threat level at extreme for Iran throughout. Spain’s challenge is not to create more chances, but to take them, and manager Fernando Hierro will tinker with his front line to try and make that possible. Lucas Vazquez on the right didn’t quite work, and he should look to get some more support for Diego Costa in the inside channel.

      Overall a fine effort by Iran where they might have stolen a point, but Spain were, predictably, too threatening for too long and deserved all three.

    • Roar Guru

      5:56am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:56am | ! Report

      FULL TIME Spain win it 1-0, with the only goal deflected onto the knee of Diego Costa

    • Roar Guru

      5:54am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:54am | ! Report

      94′ – A long throw for Mohammadi who kisses the ball… then aborts a cartwheel (what happened there?), and after all that he doesn’t put along throw in the box! What a bizarre finish.

      The clip into the box is cleared easily by De Gea

    • Roar Guru

      5:52am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:52am | ! Report

      Iran are pumping balls forward here

    • Roar Guru

      5:52am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:52am | ! Report

      92′ – Rodrigo wins a free kick, but Isco can’t make anything of it.

      Omid Ebrahimi gets a yellow card for the challenge on the new man Rodrigo

    • Roar Guru

      5:49am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:49am | ! Report

      There’ll be 4 minutes of extra time

    • Roar Guru

      5:49am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:49am | ! Report

      90′ – It’s end to end. Isco’s ingenius run is blocked with a nice tackle, but the long transition ball can’t find an Iranian target.

    • Roar Guru

      5:47am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:47am | ! Report

      Spain make a final substitution. Goal scorer Diego Costa is coming OFF and Rodrigo is ON for the last few minutes.

    • Roar Guru

      5:47am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:47am | ! Report

      We might see late goals here. It’s wide open

    • Roar Guru

      5:46am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:46am | ! Report

      87′ – Danger time for Iran. Silva plays through Asensio who’s cut back on the right can’t find a forward

    • Roar Guru

      5:45am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:45am | ! Report

      Iran make another substitution. Ghoddos is ON and Amiri is OFF

    • Roar Guru

      5:44am
      Lucas Gillard said | 5:44am | ! Report

      The last 10 minutes have been end-to-end, and the game has opened up completely. Iran are going for a goal here, and Spain are finding dangerous positions.

      Iran’s defenders will need to be stronger than ever to prevent a Spanish second.

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