Spain’s Costa Denies Stamping On Iran Goalkeeper

Lawrence Kim
June 23, 2018

In fact, the manner of their return to the pitch for the second half - with players closely grouped together and patting each other on the back - gave every indication they were just as united as ever.

With three points from their opening win against Morocco, Iran can still qualify for the knockout round but will need to beat Portugal on Monday in Saransk.

A goal by Saeid Ezatolahi was ruled out offside after being reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR), while Karim Ansarifard had earlier hammered into the side netting.

Spain handed a 100th cap to Gerard Pique, with Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez the only new faces from the side that drew against Portugal.

The second half started at a great pace, with Alireza Beiranvand forced into two great saves just six minutes after the restart, denying Pique on the line before a great leaping save to keep out a thunderous effort from Sergio Busquets.

Not an impressive result for Spain, who didn't look almost as sharp in attack as they did in the 3-3 draw against Portugal to open the tournament. Ball possession was 69 percent for Spain and 31 percent for Iran.

"I was a bit lucky in the goal, but I am happy because it had been a very hard-fought game and [Iran] were all behind the ball", he added. Silva had a shot blocked from close range and another one deflected behind towards the end of the first half, but that was about as good as it got for the 2010 World Cup winners in the first 45 minutes. The winning goal was scored by forward Diego Costa in the 54th minute.

While the Portuguese may not be as strong all over the park, they do have a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

"If there was a magic potion to stop the Spanish team, then $1 million would not be too much to buy it, even though we do have some financial troubles", said Queiroz, who was flanked by AEK Athens midfielder Masoud Shojaei. "That's it", said Queiroz, not losing the hope for Iran to progress to the next phase through a win over Portugal.

"The match the other day was not easy but I think the team has shown we know what we are doing and we trust what we are doing". Iniesta found Diego Costa in the box, and Costa's shot hit Ramin Rezaeian, before rebounding back off the Atletico Madrid striker and into the net.

Queiroz had no doubt about the size of the task facing his side when he spoke to the worldwide media on Tuesday, accepting "Iran don't have supermen like Spain, but we can do super things" as he plotted the unlikely downfall of a team battling suggestions of crisis.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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