Iran fought hard but were unable to hold out Spain for the whole 90 minutes as they were eventually defeated 1-0 by La Furia Roja in Rostov.
Spain dominated the match in terms of possession but it took a fluke goal to break the deadlock midway through the second half, as a clearance cannoned off of Diego Costa’s knee. The result means that Spain are now in a prime position to qualify for the last 16, but aren’t mathematically there just yet.
Here’s a look at how the players fared:
1. Iran: Goalkeeper & Defenders
Alireza Beiranvand 7/10 – Very solid performance, dealing well with crosses into the box and also made a flying save to deny Busquets in the second half. Stood no chance with the goal.
Ehsan Hajisafi 6/10 – Took a knock in the first half and fought on bravely to play admirably at left back.
Morteza Pouraliganji 7/10 – Threw his body on the line so many times and won virtually every header Spain lumped up towards him. Unlucky to be on the losing side.
Majid Hosseini 6/10 – Not quite as heroic as his colleague by his side but not much found its way past him.
Ramin Rezaeian 6/10 – Incredibly unlucky with the goal as his clearance cannoned off of Diego Costa’s knee. Otherwise very steady.
2. Iran: Midfielders
Saeid Ezatolahi 7/10 – Screened his defence superbly and even had the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be disallowed after a VAR referral.
Omid Ebrahimi 6/10 – Formed a strong partnership with Ezatolahi and often broke up play when Spain looked threatening.
Karim Ansarifard 6/10 – Popped up a few times in the first half and looked threatening but his influence diminished as the game went on.
Medhi Taremi 6/10 – Worked hard for his side and was inches away from connecting with a cross that would have levelled the match. Should have done better with a header with ten minutes to go.
Vahid Amiri 6/10 – Iran’s best attacking threat but on the few occasions he broke beyond the Spanish defence, he lacked the necessary quality.
3. Iran: Forward
Sardar Azmoun 5/10 – Barely played as a striker all evening and was instead acting as another midfielder for most of the 90 minutes. Did do well to win a few long balls but he was starved of service when Iran broke into the opposing half.
4. Iran: Substitutes
Milad Mohammadi 6/10 – Slotted well into right-back and kept Spain quiet on the right hand side.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh 5/10 – Couldn’t stamp any authority on the match after coming on and misplaced a few passes in promising positions late on.
5. Spain: Goalkeeper and Defenders
David De Gea 6/10 – Virtually untested all match. Made a very important punch right at the death to relieve some pressure.
Jordi Alba 6/10 – Steady performance at left back and was rarely tested defensively.
Sergio Ramos 7/10 – A captain’s performance from the centre back, dealt comfortably with anything Iran had to throw at him and virtually played as a defensive midfielder for most of the match.
Gerrard Pique 6/10 – Nothing got past him all evening and he dealt well with Azmoun.
Dani Carvajal 6/10 – Justified his inclusion back in the squad over Nacho. Always offered an outlet in the right flank for Spain.
6. Spain: Midfielders
Sergio Busquets 6/10 – A very typical performance in the heart of midfield. Barely put a foot wrong but didn’t do anything spectacular either.
Andres Iniesta 6/10 – A few passes didn’t quite come off for him, but that was testament to the Iranian defence. Played the pass into Costa for the goal.
David Silva 6/10 – Tended to drift in and out of the match but created a few very promising situations in the first half.
Isco 7/10 – Spain’s most threatening player all evening and anything good tended to come through the Real Madrid man when he dropped deep to receive the ball off of the centre-backs.
Lucas Vazquez 5/10 – Not a brilliant match for the winger and he was often wasteful in possession when he found himself in promising situations.
7. Spain: Forward
Diego Costa 7/10 – His goal was one of the most fortunate he will ever score but it wasn’t a vintage performance from the Atletico Madrid striker. He forged his own luck however and he should be praised for sticking at it to score the goal.
8. Spain: Substitutes
Koke 6/10 – Quietly went about his business in the centre of midfield after coming on.
Marco Asensio 5/10 – Didn’t have long to make an impact but he barely featured in the fifteen minuted he was on the pitch.
Rodrigo N/A – Came on with two minutes to go.