Spain 1-0 Iran
In what was expected to be a routine win for the supremely talented Spain squad, ended up being a much tighter affair than what they would have wished for. Fernando Hierro's team narrowly beat Iran 1-0 to claim there first win of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Spain enjoyed a vast amount of possession in the first-half, and forced Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand into several saves. However, Iran's defense held their own, the center-back pairing of Morteza Pouraliganji and Majid Hosseini making some tremendous last-ditch tackles to ensure the game was goalless at the break.
Spain controlled the possession all game and eventually broke through to get the win vs Iran.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 20, 2018
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Manchester United's David De Gea was essentially a passenger in the first-half with the Iranian's never looking threatening going forward.
However, the second-half brought a few scares to the Spanish goal. Karim Ansarifard found the ball at his feet in the box following a long throw-in and unleashed a thunderous strike on goal. It stung the side netting, leaving a rooted De Gea a relieved spectator.
This appeared to be the wake-up call the Spanish giants needed. Moments later, Diego Costa's effort struck a defender only to fortuitously rebound off the striker's shin and squirmed into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.
The Iranian's would not bow down though; shortly after going behind, they had the ball in the back of De Gea's goal. A wide free-kick was defended poorly from Spain, the ball fell to Saeid Ezatolahi who hammered past the United number one. However, VAR ruled that an Iranian player had strayed offside in the play, and the goal was reversed.
Spain failed to build on their lead, and Iran looked the most likely to humble the former World Champions. Iran had two unbelievable chances on goal; an outstretched Sardar Azmoun narrowly missed connecting with a cross, and a flying header from Mehdi Taremi grazed the crossbar on its way over.
De Gea and his Spanish teammates breathed a big sigh of relief as the final whistle went. Iran were impressive and deserved more from the game, especially with their second-half performance. Spain were disappointing, and will be relieved to get all three points from the game.
Manchester United's Player of the Year will hope for a smoother fixture against the already eliminated Morocco on June, 25.