World Cup 2018: Best and worst players as Spain beat Iran
Spain had to do it the hard way as the European giants huffed and puffed their way to a slender 1-0 win over Iran.
After Portugal's victory over Morocco, Spain had to respond with a similar result to keep their hopes alive. La Roja did the job in the end but could not deliver a satisfying performance.
Iran on the other hand defended magnificently and kept this Spanish elite attacking unit under wraps for the majority of the game. Costa's goal was a fortuitous one, as a messy attack in the Iranian box led the ball to bounce back off him into the back of the net.
Iran had chances of their own as the Asian side thought they had equalized just six minutes after Costa's goal. But Saeid Ezatolahi's headed effort was ruled offside by VAR. Iran became the first unfortunate country to have its goal ruled out by VAR at the World Cup.
Iran created a number of half chances in the final quarter of the game. But a lack of a killer pass in the final third deprived them of a memorable draw against the mighty Spain. Without further delay, let's take a look at the best and the worst players from Spain's 1-0 win over Iran.
#5 Best - Diego Costa (Spain)
The hot-headed striker seemed to be on the verge of losing it on numerous occasions in the first half. He stepped on the Iranian goalkeeper and was agitated by the referee. He also got in a tense clash with Beiranvand. It may have been due to the fact that Costa was hardly involved in anything meaningful in the first half.
Spain enjoyed more than 75 percent of the possession but were unable to break down a six-man Iranian back-line. All of their neat, one-touch passing were not helping them to find a breakthrough. Then came a moment of which Diego Costa is the master.
A half chance was converted into a goal by the mere presence of the Atletico hit-man. He unsettled the Iranian defenders marking him which made them clear the ball hastily. The clearance hit Costa and it bounced off into the back of the net.
Costa has now scored three goals with three shots on target in the World Cup and is proving he is capable of leading the Spanish attack.