VAR proved to be an integral feature in the game as it saw saw the referee cancelling out Iran’s equaliser.
Spain managed to snatch their first victory of the FIFA World Cup 2018 thanks to a narrow 1-0 triumoh over Iran in their second match in Group B. It was Diego Costa’s fortunate effort which finally broke the gritty Iranian defense, as the Asians almost caused a shock with their impressive attacking movement in the game.
Here we look at the talking points from the fixture.
Watch: Iran 0-1 Spain highlights
5. Carlos Queiroz has turned Iran into a rock-solid unit
Carlos Queiroz has done an immense job in changing the style of Iranian football and his impressive work was on show against Spain. Iran turned out to be an extremely difficult nut to crack and were well-organized as a unit.
Their unity was something lacking in many bigger teams these days and the way they kept out Spain and neutralized their attacking movement was impressive. Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand might have been the star of the day, but Iran’s defending as a whole showed how far they have come over the years.
4. Have Spain become boring under Fernando Hierro?
Ever since it was announced that Fernando Hierro would take over from Julen Lopetegui as the Spanish manager, many were intrigued to see what he would bring to the team. It seems like Hierro has gone back to the ‘Tiki-Taka’ manner of football.
There is too much emphasis on just passing the ball around, frustrating everyone rather than actually creating chances for La Roja. They might have edged past Iran, but this brand of football could be costly against better oppositions down the line.
3. VAR averts controversy once again
The VAR technology proved to be the deciding factor in the match on Wednesday and despite breaking Iranian hearts, it showed why it is so trustworthy. So, after Iran had struck a stunning equalizer, referee Andres Cunha called for the VAR team to check whether it was legal or not.
It was seen that Saeid Ezatolahi was offside when he hit the ball and Spain’s lead was restored once again. This averted any controversy which could’ve arose if the goal had been given, proving why VAR is the future of football refereeing.
2. Iran can pose a big threat to Portugal
With Spain’s win over Iran, Group B just became a lot more interesting and the final game between Iran and Portugal will be the one to watch. Iran came agonizingly close to getting a point against Spain and with Portugal looking wobbly against Morocco themselves, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Iranians upset the European champions.
While the ruthless Cristiano Ronaldo should get the job done for his country, Iran will be no pushovers and will go on the attack to try and defeat Portugal and create history in qualifying for the knockout rounds.
1. Diego Costa is redeeming himself with Spain in this World Cup
Diego Costa might’ve failed to impress for the Spanish national team in the last FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Euros, but he’s redeemed himself by finally coming up with the goods in this tournament.
Costa not only scored an impressive brace against Portugal, but saw Lady Luck be on his side when the Iranian defender’s botched clearance hit him and sailed into the net. He’s already scored three goals in two games and is proving to be the bullying, lethal striker who is famous for his clinical goalscoring.