As it happened: Second-half Diego Costa goal sees dominant Spain beat Iran

As it happened: Second-half Diego Costa goal sees dominant Spain beat Iran

Ryan White
IranBeiranvand; Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Ansarifard, Rezaiean, Hajsafi; Ebrahimi, Taremi, Ezzatolahi, Amiri; Azmoun
SpainDe Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Piqué, Jordi Alba; Iniesta, Busquets, Isco; Lucas Vázquez, Diego Costa, Silva
SCORE0-1, min. 54, Diego Costa.
REFEREEAndrés Cunha (URU). Booked: Amiri (min.79)
INCIDENTS2018 World Cup game between Iran and Spain, played at the Kazan Stadium.
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FT: Thank you very much for joining me; I have been Ryan White covering the live text commentary for Iran vs Spain. Make sure you keep up-to-date with VAVEL UK's coverage of the World Cup, which continues tomorrow as Group C is in action as well as Argentina playing Croatia on Thursday evening.

FT: The final matchday of this group sees Portugal entertain Iran and Spain encounter Morocco, who have already fallen out of the 2018 World Cup after their defeat to Portugal.

FT: Iran can count themselves unlucky despite the heavy possession numbers in favour of Spain. They still have a chance to progress to the knockout stages having beaten Morocco on matchday one, currently sitting third in the group on three points. As for the Spanish, they loom level alongside Portugal as both countries won 1-0 today.

FT: Iran 0-1 Spain. Diego Costa's early second-half goal is the difference as Spain only narrowly avoid embarrassment against Iran with their first victory of the tournament.

90+4: Iran pushing for an equaliser here but the Spain defence are standing firm.

90: There will be a minimum of four additional minutes.

87: Spain are desperately pressuring the Iran back line as they search to put this game to bed with a second goal.

82: Amiri does well to get past two Spain defenders, crosses it to the far-post and Mehdi Taremi gets his head to it, but can only divert his effort over the bar. Arguably Iran's best chance of the game!

79: The first yellow card of the night is issued as Iran's Vahid Amiri wipes out Isco on the half-way line.

77: Isco takes the set-piece, aiming for goal, but his effort hits the wall and Spain continue with possession inside their own half.

76: Lucas Vazquez of Spain aims to dribble into the box but is brought down by an Iran defender just outside the 18-yard area.

75: Play has calmed down a little Iran gaining more possession in the desperate search of an equaliser.

66: Here's a stat for you all; for the first time in 64 years there has not been a goalless draw in the opening 20 games of a World Cup.

64: The goal has been disallowed, it remains Iran 0-1 Spain.

62: Iran thought they had scored, all the players had gone to celebrate, however, the referee spotted an offside and we await a decision from VAR.

60: Iran attacker Mehdi Taremi makes contact with his head from a cross, and the ball goes narrowly wide of De Gea's right post.

59: The resulting corner is defended comfortably by the Iranian defence.

58: Spain win an indirect free-kick, Isco whips it in but is put behind for a corner by a Iran defender.

54: Andres Iniesta slots the ball into Diego Costa, the Atletico Madrid player turns but the ball hits a defender before deflecting back off the forward and finds the goal. Iran 0-1 Spain. 


53: Sardar Azmoun shoots a volley from the edge of the box but it goes inches wide of the right-hand post - a few in the ground thought it hit the back of the net for a split second!

52: Dani Carvajal tries to find Isco inside the box but the Real Madrid midfielder blasts his chance over the bar.

49: Spain corner comes in, Pique gets a leg to it but the Iran 'keeper smartly saves before making a second stop seconds later from Sergio Busquets' 25-yard effort.

46: Iran got us underway for the second-half!

HT: Spain have dominated possession for the first 45 minutes, but are being limited to shots on goal as Iran hold out and I am sure the Asian nation would be satisfied to continue on the defensive foot as long as the opposition struggle to create clear-cut chances. Things must change in the second-half if there is to be a goal.

HT: Iran 0-0 Spain.

45+2: David Silva finds space inside the box but his shot is deflected wide for a corner, which comes to nothing.

45: Nearly the interval and the first-half has been all one-way traffic so far.

39: Iran man Alireza Beiranvand is injured as it seems Diego Costa stamped on the goalkeeper's foot - the forward avoids receiving a card.

37: Ehsan Hajsafi is currently down for Iran; receiving treatment on the edge of Iran's attacking area.

36: Iran are on the attack with a corner from the near-side - which is defended well by the Spain back line.

33: Ramin Rezaeian appears to foul Isco, however, the referee judges the Spaniard to have dived, but escapes caution.

30: A scrappy spell in the Iran box eventually sees David Silva attempt a bicycle kick - which he succeeds - but floats over the crossbar.

25: David Silva has taken another free-kick after Diego Costa was fouled, on the edge of the box, but the Manchester City man's effort goes straight into Beiranvand's arms.

22: Sergio Ramos goes for the shot but is deflected and calmly collected by the Iran goalkeeper.

22: Spain win a free-kick around 30 yards from goal, near enough down the centre as well.

15: Iran get their first half-chance of the game; Sardar Azmoun receives the ball 20 yards out but his effort goes wide of David De Gea's left post.

9: Isco drives forward before being brought down, free-kick on this near-side from 30 yards out.

8: Sergio Ramos receives a very strong word from the referee after a nasty foul on an Iran player.

6: The incoming free-kick is headed away by the Spanish defence before an Iran player shoots into the crowd.

5: Iran gain the ball and create an attack before earning a free-kick five yards from the corner flag on the far side.

4: It is Spain who are unexpectedly dominating play at the moment; one or crosses into the box before a Dani Carvajal shot goes miles over and wide of the Iran goal.

1: Spain get us underway!

Teams are out and national anthems are taking place.

Players will be heading back into the tunnel from the warm-ups - kick-off is just a quarter of an hour away.....

The Iranians may be full of confidence after that matchday one victory over Morocco, courtesy of an own goal. Their last three World Cup goals have come in the final 15 minutes of games, and Spain has conceded as many as ten goals in their previous four outings in this major tournament.

As for Spain, they are unbeaten when it comes to facing Asian countries in this competition with two wins and the same number of draws, despite losing on penalties to South Korea in the 2002 World Cup.

Iran and Spain have never met in a competitive international. The former are also winless in all of their previous World Cup encounters against European nations; losing five and drawing one.

Let's get some stats, in the build-up to kick-off....

Iran: Beiranvand; Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Ansarifard, Rezaiean, Hajsafi; Ebrahimi, Taremi, Ezzatolahi, Amiri; Azmoun

Spain: De Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Piqué, Jordi Alba; Iniesta, Busquets, Isco; Lucas Vázquez, Diego Costa, Silva

The Spain starting XI is out! 

As for Iran, you would have to say that their key player is still Sardar Azmoun. There was a lot of talk about the 23-year-old striker before the Morocco match, but he was largely frustrated throughout. He missed one golden chance in the first half which may have made the game more comfortable for his side. He has already racked up an impressive 23 goals for Iran since making his debut in 2014 and scored 11 goals in qualifying. He will want to get off the mark in this tournament as soon as he possibly can. 

However, another player who really stood out against Portugal is Isco. The 26-year-old Real Madrid playmaker really dictated the tempo of the game throughout and looks as though he will be a key player for Spain moving forward. It is vital that Iran look to minimise Isco’s influence on the game if they are to come away with a result. 

So who are the key players for both sides? Diego Costa is likely to start upfront again for Spain in this one following his performance against Portugal, meaning that Iago Aspas will have to settle for a place on the bench. The 29-year-old will be the main player to look out for and could cause Iran’s defence problems and potentially add to the two goals he picked up in the opening match. 

As for Spain, they were held to a 3-3 draw by Portugal in undoubtedly the game of the tournament so far. It was not a bad performance from the 2010 winners, especially considering they sacked their manager, Julen Lopetegui, just two days before the match. They came up against an almost unplayable Cristiano Ronaldo as the Real Madrid forward scored a hat-trick and caused huge problems throughout. However, Diego Costa did find the back of the net twice which is a positive for Spain heading into the rest of the tournament. 

What better place to start than discussing how these two sides fared in the first round of matches? Well, it was a highly successful opening game for Iran as they secured a late 1-0 victory over Morocco courtesy of an own goal from Aziz Bouhaddouz. This was a historic result for a number of reasons, including that it was Iran’s first win at the World Cup finals since 1998 and is only their second of all time, having competed in five to date. They will be delighted to be leading Group B at this stage. 

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK’s live minute-by-minute coverage of this evening’s World Cup group stage match between Iran and Spain at the Kazan Arena. The game gets underway at 7.00pm, but stick around until then because we’ll have plenty of build-up to keep you entertained.