Diego Costa denies provocation but admits to lucky goal against Iran

Emmett Rice
June 23, 2018

While that may not differ too much from the scenario in many group stage matches pairing the big beasts of the game against those nations who occupy lower rungs of the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, the X-factor in Kazan could be Carlos Queiroz.

A fortuitous Diego Costa goal helped Spain overcome a dogged Iran to secure a 1-0 win in their World Cup Group B clash in Kazan. Then, unbelievably, it looked as though the Iranians had levelled the match - only for the goal to be correctly ruled out by VAR for offside.

David Silva turned over from close range, but the nearly Catenaccio tactics of Iran ensured Spain dominated possession without really getting a shot on goal in the first half.

Spain was mostly unsafe from set-pieces, including in the 25th minute when a free kick from David Silva that took a deflection was stopped by Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand. Only one minute later, another shot from Spain was tipped away by Beiranvand.

Paces picked up in the second half with Spain desperate to make a breakthrough.

Costa put Spain ahead in the 54th minute, although there was a touch of luck to the goal. Ball possession was 69 percent for Spain and 31 percent for Iran.

Spain needs to recover its confidence after having lost the ball and dominance in a game whose result was down to just one goal - as is the case in so many World Cup matches. It was a defense-first game, with only a single goal scored throughout. And Costa is not lacking in either self-confidence or that of the people around him. He believes the former Real Madrid captain has all the qualities to deliver success at the World Cup as Spain's coach too. On 25 June, the team of Fernando Hierro will play against Morocco and Iran on the same day for a place in the 1/8 finals will compete with Portugal.

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But playing in their second World Cup , Senegal showed a passion and physicality that their seeded opponents could not handle. But they ensured a frantic finale when Grzegorz Krychowiak headed home a free-kick at the far post.

They said he could not score.

Nonetheless, it is safe to say that they would still be more of an unknown quantity to Spain, while Iran would nearly certainly know everything there is to know about Isco and company, and the threat that accompanies them.

Spain chalked up the 1-0 win over Iran at Kazan Arena thanks to a strike from Diego Costa.

While it remains to be seen if he will start or not, Hierro will surely feel tempted to select him following a shaky display from Nacho Fernandez at right-back against Portugal.

He added that Portugal are a great team with fantastic players but Iran will not be afraid of attacking.

"We know it will be hard, but as I said before we came here and didn't expect easy things".

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