Lucky Costa goal sees Spain past dogged Iran

Spain vs Iran

Team Melli put up a real fight, before Diego Costa broke the deadlock in the second half. Spain is coming off the thrilling draw vs. Portugal and needs a win over Iran to leap into the position many expected it to hold in the group.

A lucky Diego Costa goal handed World Cup hopefuls Spain their first win of the World Cup although dogged Iran came close to causing a major upset on Wednesday (Jun 20).

Iran's defensive setup was hardly a surprise but Hierro's side appeared to have no set idea of how they were going to get through.

Costa claimed his third goal of the tournament in the 54th minute at Kazan Arena but the striker hardly knew about it, the ball deflecting off his legs from an attempted clearance by hapless Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian.

Queiroz said he was proud of the performance of his players and insisted they will continue to confound expectations as they head into their final group game against Portugal.

Iran were brilliant in defence for much of the night but also made a number of telling incursions.

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Even with the easiest scoring conditions of the week, just 15 players broke par on Sunday, and only four went lower than 2 under. A tough 12-footer limited the damage at 11 to a bogey after he hit into the greenside rough and from there into a bunker.

It was not until the 25th minute that Spain had a shot on target, with Silva sending a free kick straight into the arms of keeper Ali Beiranvand.

David Silva has had the best chance of the game: swivelling 10 yards out but skying his volley over the bar.

The Iranians thought they had equalised through Saeid Ezatolahi...

Spain continued to apply strong pressure in the second half and Beiranvand stopped a strike from Sergio Busquets in the 49th minute with a superb one-handed diving save.

But the thousands of Iranian supporters that filled the stadiuum with the sound of vuvuzelas throughout were left disappointed when it was ruled out for offside.

MF Andres Iniesta, 6 - Among the Spain players who struggled to find a way through the massed ranks, although he did play the clever ball through to Costa that led to the opener.

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