FIFA World Cup 2018: Fernando Hierro relieved Spain survived tough test against Iran
Spain overcame a resilient performance from their opponents to beat Iran 1-0 thanks to a deflected Diego Costa goal, putting them on course to qualify for the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2018.football Updated: Jun 21, 2018 07:38 IST
Spain coach Fernando Hierro admitted his team had been on the ropes before a lucky Diego Costa goal handed them their first win of the World Cup on Wednesday as dogged Iran came close to causing a major upset.
The victory in Kazan puts the 2010 winners on course for the last 16, but Iran had an equaliser disallowed for a narrow offside.
“We have three points... but it was very difficult and complex game. Both halves were very tough,” said Hierro.
“We started well, with good pace, but Iran are a very tough team, it’s very difficult to score against them.”
Costa, who scored twice in a 3-3 opening draw with Portugal in Sochi, courted controversy early in the Group B encounter when he stepped on the toes of Iran ‘keeper Ali Beiranvand.
His gesture went unpunished, and the Atletico Madrid striker required another stroke of luck on 54 minutes when his shot came off Ramin Rezaeian to beat Beiranvand after he had been sent through by Andres Iniesta.
Just before the hour mark, the entire Iranian bench poured onto the pitch when Saeid Ezatolahi fired an equaliser for Iran.
But the thousands of Iranian supporters that filled the stadium with the sound of vuvuzelas throughout were left disappointed when it was ruled out for offside.
With three points from two matches, Iran still have a chance of qualifying if they can get a result against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on Monday.
First Published: Jun 21, 2018 07:38 IST