Spain vs Iran: 5 Talking Points, World Cup 2018
SCORE: Spain (Costa 54') 1-0 Iran
Spain came up against an impressive Iranian unit in their second fixture of Group B, after playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal in their opener. Cristiano Ronaldo was at it again in Portugal's second fixture against Morocco, as he scored the only goal in the game to put Portugal in the driver's seat.
Ronaldo's Real Madrid teammates in the Spanish side responded well to the challenge as they picked up a vital three points in their quest to progress into the knock-out rounds after failing to do so in Brazil, four years ago. It was an Atletico man though, who got the most telling touch of the game to keep Spain in the hunt for top spot in Group B.
Diego Costa, like Ronaldo, carried on his goal-scoring form, from the previous game, to get past a resilient Iranian unit who were unlucky to not come away with a point from the game.
Here are the Talking Points:
#5 Iran defy expectations
Iran was one of the least fancied teams to make it past the group stages coming into the competition. It is the first time in their history that they have qualified for two back-to-back World Cup finals, their fifth qualification overall.
Slated in the same group as the former World Champions, Spain, and the current European Champions, Portugal, meant that their already slim chances were further diminished in the face of such tough competition. With a Moroccan side that boasts players from the top leagues in Europe making up the numbers, Iran was expected to struggle to not only earn a point, but also keep the attacking talent in the other sides at bay.
However, after their win over Morocco, Iran managed to keep their defence tight and solid once again to prevent the 2010 World Cup Champions from scoring in the opening forty-five minutes of the game. They were, at that point, the only team to not have conceded a goal in Group B. Impressive from the Asian side.