Spain beat Iran 1-0 with Costa's third goal of World Cup

Posted June 21, 2018

Yet, whilst the Iranians may have failed to register the win they pushed Spain hard and will consider themselves unlucky with a battling rearguard performance which saw the Europeans struggle to breakdown a resolute Iran defence.

The fact he continued to hassle Iran's defenders on a night when he was so often crowded out of the game is to his credit and, after scoring twice against Portugal, he looks to have made the lone striker role his own. "We were happier after the match against Portugal, but we only had one point".

IR Iran now leads Group B with 3 points, followed by Spain and Portugal with 1 point each.

He only had one chance against Iran, and he converted it.

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Fernando Hierro has also included forward Lucas Vazquez, with Koke making way as Spain's new coach seeks more dynamism to unlock a cagey Iran defence at Kazan Arena.

Coach Carlos Queiroz said a member of the team had to be hospitalized after referee Andres Cunha disallowed Saeid Ezatolahi's goal.

While Iran might have courted some praise for their stifling tactics in the first half, this was more a test of Hierro's tactical nous considering the 3-3 draw with Portugal was something of a wild anomaly. The win extended Spain's unbeaten run to 22 games, the longest active unbeaten run in global football.

Iran was unsafe from set pieces and its restless defensive display was impressive.

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Another chance came and went some 20 minutes later, when Vahid Amiri brilliantly nutmegged Gerard Pique and sent in a cross from the left to find Taremi in the box.

Named the man of the match, Costa took umbrage when he was asked why he played aggressively.

Costa was accused of standing on the foot of Iran's Ali Beiranvand.

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.

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He may not have scored yet, even if it was only the crossbar that denied him in the opener against Portugal, but his football is excellent even without the goals and it's about time we started labelling him a world-class superstar. "Watch the game properly, don't just say things because its your national team".