Isco stands out with 8/10 performance as Spain struggle to beat Iran

Isco stands out with 8/10 performance as Spain struggle to beat Iran

Spain eventually won the game 1-0 with Costa scoring the only game.

Spain edged out a gallant Iran in an absorbing contest to ensure they will reach the World Cup knockout stage with a win in their final group game.

Nacho scored a stunning goal in a 3-3 draw with Portugal last week but also conceded a penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo converted on his way to a hat-trick.

It was an attack versus defence exercise as Iran continued to camp deep, and they were making it nearly impossible for Spain to pick their passes in a forward position.

Diego Costa's knee snatched Spain victory in a wild game in Rostov.

Spain has no choice but to breathe new life into its 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Iran did their utmost to frustrate the 2010 world champions in a clash of styles, but Diego Costa eventually opened the scoring with a scrappy 54th-minute victor that ended up the evening's only goal.

Iran had the ball in the back of the net just eight minutes later courtesy of Saeid Ezatolahi, but their wild celebrations were cut short after referee Andres Cunha was advised by VAR that Rezaeian's vital intervention had been made from an offside position.

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"We tried to tell them to keep calm, keep fighting", Hierro said of his speech to the players at half-time, after which Spain produced the spell that brought Costa's victor.

"Everybody knows that our boys are fighters, and we will fight and we will keep our concentration until the very last second of the match".

They have yet to score a goal off their own boot this tournament and fans will have torn their hair out after Mehdi Taremi headed over the bar from six yards out in the 82nd minute.

Hierro brought winger Lucas Vazquez into his starting side in place of midfielder Koke, seeking more dynamism to break down Iran's wall.

In the final quarter hour Iran battled for a late equaliser, but after Vahid Amiri showed class to nutmeg Pique deep on the left and fire over an inviting cross, Taremi's thundering header flew just over the bar as a relieved De Gea looked on.

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.

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.

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