World Cup 2018: Iran v Portugal

Team Melli look to cause an upset and qualify for the last-16 ahead of Ronaldo's European Champions

Patrick Madden Mon, Jun 25
LIVE: World Cup 2018: Iran v Portugal

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  • Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of Portugal's final Group B clash with Iran in Saransk (kick-off 7.0pm).

    Tonight a point will be enough for Cristiano Ronaldo's side to secure their place in the last-16 - but Iran manager Carlos Quieroz is looking to plot the downfall of his former side.

    Team Melli scored a 95th minute winner in their opener against Morocco, before failing to hold Spain in a grim encounter in Kazan. It hasn't been pretty, but Iran have given themselves the chance to cause an upset and reach the knockouts.

    However, here they meet a Ronaldo with the bit firmly between his teeth. Since he last played he has watched Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane stake their claims for the Golden Boot - you can bet he'll have a response to those young upstarts tonight.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action from Saransk - as well as keeping you up to date with Spain's clash with Morocco in Kaliningrad.

    Come on!!!


    Iran: Beiranvand, Rezaeian, Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Hajsafi, Taremi, Jahanbakhsh, Ezatolahi, Ebrahimi, Amiri, Azmoun. Subs: Mazaheri, Torabi, Mohammadi, Shojaei, Ansarifard, Khanzadeh, Ghoddos, Montazeri, Ghoochannejhad, Dejagah, Abedzadeh.

    Portugal: Rui Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Quaresma, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Joao Mario, Andre Silva, Ronaldo. Subs: Beto, Bruno Alves, Fernandes, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Dias, Ricardo Pereira, Bruno Fernandes, Goncalo Guedes, Gelson Martins, Mario Rui, Lopes.

    Referee: Enrique Caceres (Paraguay)


    Portugal and Spain are both well poised to make it into the last-16, although Iran’s victory over Morocco in their opener gives them a live chance of progression.

    If Team Melli beat Portugal they will qualify ahead of the European champions - a draw could be enough in the unlikely event Morocco beat Spain by more than one goal.

    Spain and Portugal are tied at the top on four points and with identical goal difference, goals scored, goals conceded and head-to-head record. A point is sufficient for both to progress - their reward a winnable last-16 clash against Russia or Uruguay.

  • The Group B winners will play Group A runners-up Russia in the last-16, while the runners-up will play Uruguay. After the latter's 3-0 win over the hosts today, top spot looks a serious prize.
  • 10 mins until kick-off!
  • The teams are out in Saransk.
  • Ricardo Quaresma, Andre Silva and Adrien Silva all come in for Portugal tonight - Bernardo Silva misses out.

  • Today's ref is Paraguay's Enrique Caceres - and he gets us underway.


  • 1 min: Early Portugese possession before Ebrahimi catches  Guerreiro late and things flare up - briefly. Expect plenty of edge to this.
  • 3 min: First glimpse for Ronaldo. Mario chases a long ball down the left and knocks it back inside to his captain. He shapes to shoot with his left but bursts into the box instead with Iran trying desperately not to foul. His snapshot is saved by Beiranvand at the near post.
  • 4 min: Andre Silva chases a ball to the byline where he's bundled over by Rezaeian - but he doens't get the free-kick. Absolute racket being made in Saransk.
  • 6 min: Portugal enjoying most of the ball but Iran are sitting and look well organised. They break down the right through  Jahanbakhsh, who slows it down and plays it square to  Medhi who makes a hash of his shot.
  • 9 min: Carvalho looks for Ronaldo with a cross which goalkeeper Beiranvand comes to claim - but  Ezatolahi hooks it away ahead of his goalkeeper. His clearance falls for Mario, who can't keep his effort down. There's a brief barmy between the goalkeeper and  Ezatolahi after that lack of communication.
  • 11 min: This has been a bright start from Iran, who have shown a few attacking flashes to complement their defensive organisation.
  • 12 min: Iran 'keeper Beiranvand comes for a cross from the right and flaps at it horribly - Rezaeian comes to his rescue at the back post.
  • 13 min: Beiranvand is having a stinker so far. Ronaldo spreads it to Quaresma on the right and his cross is straight towards the Iranian 'keeper - but he drops it, sparking brief panic inside the area.
  • There's been a goal in Kaliningrad - Morocco lead Spain 1-0 through Boutaib!
  • 16 min: Adrien Silva is fouled and Portugal have a free-kick on the right, about 25-yards out. Ronaldo takes and it deflects off the top of the wall for a corner.
  • 17 min: Lovely feet from Quaresma and he plays in Andre Silva down the left - he battles hard to win a Portugese corner. The 'keeper punches it clear and Adrien Silva's follow-up cross is headed wide by Pepe.
  • Spain have equalised in Kaliningrad - Isco with the goal. That lasted long.
  • 21 min: Iran are really putting it up to Portugal here and they win it back from Ronaldo on halfway. They break and win a free-kick in a very dangerous position. Rezaeian's effort is miles wide.
  • 22 min: Iran break dangeorusly again and Azmoun looks to play in  Jahanbakhsh. Patricio reads it well and slides out to gather - catching an ankle to the cheek in the process.
  • 25 min: After a bit of treatment, Patricio is fine to continue. Portugal on the ball in the Iranian half - every white shirt is stacked behind the ball.
  • 27 min: Ronaldo having to drop deeper and deeper for the ball. He's well tackled by  Jahanbakhsh on halfway.  
  • 28 min: Portugal slice Iran open for the first time, Cedric sliding in Quaresma down the right. He has options in the box but his cross is poor and is easily turned behind for a corner.
  • 32 min: Not exactly a thriller, this. Iran will be the happier of the sides.  
  • 33 min: Good break from Iran and they work it nicely. It's moved to  Jahanbakhsh - Guerreiro slides in but brings his man down and concedes a free-kick in a dangerous spot. He's booked.

    Jahanbakhsh curls it towards  Ezatolahi - his near post header is straight at Patricio.

  • 35 min: Very familiar pattern here - Portugal knocking it around on the edge of the final third, unable to find that killer pass.
  • 37 min: Iran look dangerous on the break. Azmoun is making a lot of clever runs, but again the final pass isn't quite right. Portugal have been laboured.
  • 39 min: This is being played at walking pace, Portugal knocking it around but with no real zest.
  • 40 min: Ronaldo drops deep and the space opens up for him - his long range shot is straight at the 'keeper.
  • 41 min: Good clearing header from Pepe and Portugal can break. Ronaldo carries and moves it inside to Carvalho, who gets caught in possession. Portugal need to stop slowing it down.
  • 43 min: Guerreiro lofts it down the left for Ronaldo to chase - he's well marshalled and his claims for a corner are quickly dismissed.


  • Oh my what a goal. Quaresma picks the ball up on the right and cuts inside. He plays a one-two and takes a touch before curling it into the top left corner with a the outside of his right boot.  


  • It was going to take something special to break this Iran side down. That was something special.
  • As it stands, Portugal will top Group B and play Russia in the last-16.
  • We're back underway in Saransk.  

    It's still 1-1 between Spain and Morocco.

  • 47 min: Portugal probe down the right and Quaresma tries to find Ronaldo on the edge with a backheel. He's going to try everything now.
  • 48 min: Ronaldo finds Quaresma who digs into his bag of tricks again but is tackled - Cedric had made a good run outside him on the right.
  • 50 min: Crisper play from Portugal - Carvalho plays it to Mario who finds Rinaldo on the edge. He shapes to shoot but dances inside instead, and wants a penalty for a tackle on the edge form Ezatolahi.

    It looks very soft, but after a delay the ref decides he wants to check with VAR.

  • 52 min: And after reviewing with VAR, he's given it! Iran go mad - Hajsafi is booked for getting in the ref's face.

    Ronaldo to take...

  • 53 min: It's a poor penalty from Ronaldo - he puts it to the 'keeper's left at a very saveable height.

    There's been another incident off the ball and the Iranian players are going mad - this time it's Azmoun taking issue with the ref. Queiroz is on the pitch to try and calm his players down - he's then sent down the tunnel.

  • 56 min: Change for Iran,  Mohammadi replacing Hajsafi.
  • 57 min: That missed penalty has given Iran a new lease of life. Pepe has to make a vital interception at the near post with Azmoun waiting to turn the ball home.  
  • 61 min: Portugal probing down the left with red shirts in the box - Guerreiro and Mario both pass up opportunities to cross, and when the latter finally does it's easily headed clear.
  • 63 min: Very meaty challenge from Quaresma on Ezatolahi - he body checks him and gets a booking. This game feels like it's on the verge of imploding.
  • 66 min: Lovely footwork from Ronaldo as he cuts inside - but he can't get his foot around the shot and sends it comfortably wide.
  • 68 min: Sustained possession for Portugal - but they're struggling to find another opening. Remember, Iran need to score two.
  • 69 min: Goalscorer Quaresma is replaced by Bernado Silva. Saman Ghoddos replaces  Jahanbakhsh.
  • 72 min: A chnace for Iran. An angled ball is played long to Azmoun who nods it down for Ghoddos. He shifts it onto his right foot very smartly but drags his shot wide on the left.
  • 74 min: Portugal break but Mario's ball to Ronaldo is poor. He does well to win it ahead of Amiri but then it loops to the goalkeeper.
  • 75 min: The bench Iran are screaming for a VAR review after a clumsy challenge by Carvalho on the edge. They get their wish - and a talking to from the referee - but there's no penalty.
  • Still Spain 1 Morocco 0 in Kaliningrad.
  • 77 min: A wild effort from Andre Silva rises over the bar. Ronaldo had won the ball back but couldn't join the break after being fouled.
  • 81 min: This game is so niggly - people constantly dropping like flies off the ball.  Pouraliganji goes down as Ronaldo tries to get goal side. There's nothing in it - but the ref is checking with VAR.

    Replays show it was nothing, but the ref is taking his time... booking for Ronaldo - wasn't even deserving of that.

  • WOW!

    Spain 1 Morocco 2 in Kaliningrad - En-Nesyri with the goal.

  • 85 min: Portugal knocking the ball around - Iran still harrying and chasing. A goal for them, and another for Morocco, would send them through.
  • 87 min: Good burst down the right from Cedric but his cross is straight out for a goal-kick. Surely the European champions can see this out.
  • 88 min: Good play from Ronaldo, holding the ball up and drawing the foul out on the left. Portugal take their time over it - only three men in the box - and 'keeper Beiranvand claims it.
  • 89 min: Portugal give the ball away and it's worked out to the right by Iran. There's a deep cross towards Azmoun but his header down is hacked clear by Fonte.

    Again, Iran want a VAR review - this time for a potential handball from Cedric - but it's never a penalty.

  • 90 min: Oh my days. The referee is going across to check the VAR again. This is absoltely pathetic - that was never, ever a handball.  
  • 92 min: What an absolte farce. That was never a penalty, but he's given it. Ansarifard to take...




  • Spain have equalised in Kaliningrad through Aspas!
  • 94 min: What a miss!!! That was Iran's chance. A long ball is headed down to Ghoddos, and his shot is deflected into the path of Mehdi, who shoots into the side netting.
  • 97 min: A goal sends Iran through - we're into the last of six minutes added time.

    FT: Spain 2 Morocco 2



  • That second half was an absolute joke - VAR at its worst.
  • That late turnaround means Spain will play Uruguay in the last-16 and Portugal will play Russia.  

    The Portugese won't be pleased with that brainless late decision.

  • Thanks for joining on a dramatic evening - there's more of the same in store tomorrow.

    I'll see you for Denmark against France (kick-off 3.0).