World Cup: Iran v Spain

Iran could leave Spain in serious trouble if they pull off a shock in Kazan

Patrick Madden Wed, Jun 20
LIVE: World Cup: Iran v Spain

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  • 18:35

    Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of Spain's second Group B clash against Iran in Kazan (kick-off 7.0).

    In a first round of World Cup fixtures which saw many of the pre-tournament favourites flounder, it was Spain's performance against Portugal which was perhaps the most impressive.

    Granted, they drew 3-3 because of the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and an uncharacteristic clanger from David de Gea. But amid the madness of Sochi there were glimpses of the football which saw the Spanish dominate the world from 2008-2012.

    Indeed, there was a sense that maybe the cobwebs have been blown off the old carousel and it's starting to whir into action once again. Andres Iniesta and David Silva had the Portugese in a spin at times - while Diego Costa provided a different dimension up front - a heavy metal guitar jamming with the orchestra.

    Iran meanwhile hung on grimly against Morocco before forcing a 95th minute winner and giving themselves a live chance of reaching the last-16. Expect more of the same today.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action from Kazan - enjoy.

    Come on!!!

  • 18:37


    Iran: Beiranvand; Rezaeian, Hosseini, Pouraliganji, Haji Safi; Karim, Omid, Ezatolahi, Amiri; Mehdi; Azmoun.

    Spain: De Gea; Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Silva; Vazquez, Costa, Isco.

    Referee: Andres Cunha (Uruguay).

  • 18:38
  • 18:52
    Two changes for Spain tonight - Dani Carvajal is fit again and replaces Nacho, who scored a screamer against Portugal. Lucas Vazquez replaces Koke.
  • 18:53
    The teams are out of the tunnel in Kazan.
  • 18:53
  • 18:55
    Did you know the Spanish national anthem has no words? You do now.
  • 18:57

    Spain are wearing white again tonight. Iran in red.

    The dreaded vuvuzela has made a comeback in Kazan. Brilliant.

  • 19:00

    It's more of a grey than a white really. Let's call it off-white.


  • 19:02
    1 min: Crisp early possession for Spain. Silva crosses towards Costa and it's headed away by Hosseini. A few niggly fouls in midfield from both sides, Ramos getting clattered in midair.
  • 19:04
    3 min: Spain enjoying ownership of the ball, Iran keeping their shape well with every man behind the ball. Isco changes the angle with a ball towards Costa which is fisted away by Beiranvand.
  • 19:06
    5 min: First glimpse from Iran on the break through Azmoun, who looks to slide in Amiri. Spain get men back quickly and snuff out the danger, but then Carvajal commits a soft foul on the byline gifting Iran a free-kick in a dangerous spot. Towering clearing header from Pique.
  • 19:08
    7 min: Iran compact and disciplined thus far, Spain yet to offer anything inside tghe final third. Ramos gets a talking to after an aerial challenge with Azmoun - didn't seem to do much wrong.
  • 19:10
    9 min: Free-kick for Spain in a good spot out on the left. Silva siwngs it in and it's a fraction too high for Pique and then Costa.
  • 19:10
    10 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 19:10
  • 19:10
    Sergio Ramos's fault.
  • 19:13
    12 min: Silva dropping to link the play, scheming away, but Iran still keeping their shape. Busquets looks to play the ball back out and is caught late. Silva swings in the free kick which is headed clear. Spain are going to have to be patient here.
  • 19:16
    15 min:  Ansarifard drags a shot well wide from distance, ignoring a good run ahead of him. The dull drone of the vuvuzela - coupled with Iran's incredibly deep defenisve line - is making this hard to enjoy.
  • 19:17
    17 min: Amiri beats the offside trip on the right - everyone seems to be waiting for the flag - but when he runs onto the ball his delivery across goal evades two red shirts and runs for a throw-in.
  • 19:18
    18 min: Spain trying to be cute on the edge but Iran are making it difficult for them. Silva cuts inside and shoots but it's well blocked by a red shirt.
  • 19:19
    19 min: Iran sitting deeper and deeper and the Spanish passing is getting crisper - that final killer ball is still proving elusive, though.
  • 19:20
    20 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 19:22
    21 min: Lucas Vazquez has been the weak link for Spain so far, he isn't quite on the same wavelength as Iniesta and Silva. He wins a free-kick around 30-yards out which Ramos lines up, and hits the top of the wall.
  • 19:25
    24 min: Another free-kick for Spain, this one closer and just about within range. Silva takes and it takes a deflection before sailing into the arms of a grateful Beiranvand.
  • 19:27
    26 min: Good build-up from Spain on the right and Isco releases Carvajal, but the return ball is too high for him. Could have left it for Silva, who lets him know just that.
  • 19:30

    29 min: Plenty of possession for Spain but it's laborious work at the moment. And then there's a glimpse, Iniesta slipped into the box.

    Moments later Silva hooks a bouncing ball over the bar - they're getting closer.

  • 19:30
    30 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 19:31
    31 min: Lovely turn from Isco on the edge but then he drags a shot horribly wide of the left upright.
  • 19:33
    33 min: Spain's final ball has been poor, Iran are frustrating them.  
  • 19:35
    35 min: A rare foray into the Spanish half for Iran and a long throw is hurled towards the near post and then easily cleared.  
  • 19:36
    36 min: And then Ramos turns a cross behind from the right. First corner for Iran -  Ansarifard takes it but Spain clear their lines comfortably.
  • 19:39

    37 min: Concern over Iran captain Haji Safi, who drops to the floor on the edge of the box running into his own man. After a bit of treatment and plenty of histrionics he runs back on.

  • 19:40
    39 min: And then goalkeeper Beiranvand goes down with Diego Costa in close proximity. Think Diego had a little nibble with his studs but nothing to write home about.
  • 19:40
    40 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 19:42
    41 min: A glimpse in the box for Isco but again his squared ball is turned away. Spain are camped on the edge of the Iran box but they're yet to force a save from the 'keeper.
  • 19:44
    43 min: Iniesta and Silva are doing their best here to create openings but it's that last ball which won't come off. Iran are incredibly dull to watch but thus far they've been effective.
  • 19:47
    46 min: Spain's best opening, and Iran are properly exposed for the first time as it's laid off for Silva on the edge - his first time shot off his trusty left boot is blocked.
  • 19:48
    HT: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 19:48
    The less said about that the better.
  • 20:03
  • 20:03
    Spain are back out for the second half. If they can't force one here they're in serious bother.
  • 20:04
    We're back underway!
  • 20:06
    46 min: Good ball for Isco on the left and he dances inside before being forced wide, and screwing his cross out for a goal kick.
  • 20:07
    48 min: More neat build-up play from Spain and it's worked out to Alba - but his low cross is easily turned away with only Costa in the box.
  • 20:10
    49 min: That's the closest Spain have come. A corner from the right is flicked on and Ramos's effort is cleared off the line. The ball then rolls out for Busquets whose first time effort is palmed away by Beiranvand. Vazquez follows up and is penalised.
  • 20:10
    50 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 20:11
    51 min: Vazquez plays it inside to Carvajal who cuts it back for Isco - his effort is well over. Slightly better intensity to Spain's play now.
  • 20:13
    52 min: Wow, Iran go close. They launch a long throw into the box which is headed down for Ansarifard. His snap shot travels like a rocket but luckily for Spain it nestles in the side-netting.
  • 20:14




  • 20:15

    Spain finally break the deadlock. Iniesta works his magic to find Costa in the box. He's well tracked by Rezaeian but the defender clears it into Costa's shins and it ricochets into the Iranian goal.

    56 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 1

  • 20:18
    58 min: Vazquez is fouled in the inside right channel - Isco's delivery is well cleared behind for a corner, which Spain waste.
  • 20:18
    59 min: Brilliant from Isco, dancing to the byline on the left and getting into the box, but again red shirts pack the area and his cross is cleared.
  • 20:19
    60 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 0
  • 20:20
    60 min: Spain get a fright as a deep cross is met by Mehdit - his header is just wide of de Gea's right hand post.
  • 20:21



  • 20:21
    Hang on a second...
  • 20:23

    Iran have a free-kick and it's lofted towards the box and knocked down, where Ezatolahi sweeps it home. They go absolutely bonkers, not realising the ref has blown his whistle for offside. He checks with VAR - goal ruled out!


  • 20:26

    65 min: Busquets nearly find Carvajal with a scything pass but he just overcooks it and raises his hands to his head.  

    That was a good example of why VAR can split opinion. Technically it's the right decision but it was marginal and has killed a potentially iconic moment.

  • 20:30

    69 min: There's a change for Iran, Haji Safi limps off and is replaced by Mohamaddi. Spain go close again. Neat corner routine and Isco rolls it short for Iniesta who lays it off for Ramos. His low first-time effort sparks a goalmouth scramble, with Pique trying to bundle it home, but Iran escape with a free-kick.

    Koke replaces Iniesta.

  • 20:30
    70 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 1
  • 20:33
    73 min: After a turgid first half the second has been brilliantly intense.  
  • 20:35
    75 min: There's a brilliant ball to the back post from Iran and Mehdi, stretching every sinew, can't quite get a toe on it.
  • 20:36
    76 min: Free-kick for Spain in a dangeorus area on the left of the box. It's quite wide, Silva and Isco are over it. The latter takes and his effort hits the wall.
  • 20:38
    78 min: Booking for Amiri after he catches Carvajal late. Vazquez replaced by Asensio - Hierro should have started the game that way round.  
  • 20:39
    80 MIN: IRAN 0 SPAIN 1
  • 20:42
    82 min: What a chance for Iran. Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a brilliant ball to the back post, where Mehdi can't keep his header down.
  • 20:45

    85 min: Isco picks it up between the lines and tries to find Costa on the edge but the ball goes loose. Costa offers a lot up front but the line-up play isn't quite there yet.

    Ghoddos replaces Amiri for Iran.

  • 20:45
  • 20:48
    88 min: Goalscorer Costa is replaced by Rodrigo.
  • 20:49
  • 20:50
    91 min: Deep ball towards Azmoun at the back post but the header is comfortable for De Gea, who hasn't had much to do tonight.
  • 20:51
    92 min: Ebrahimi fouls Rodrigo, the ref stops play and books the Iraninan number nine. Harsh. Isco curls the ball in and it doesn't beat the first man - Iran can break.
  • 20:53
    94 min: Last chance for Iran, with a long throw form the left. Milad Mohammadi slips and his second effort is punched clear by De Gea.
  • 20:54
    FT: IRAN 0 SPAIN 1
  • 21:01

    Right, thanks for joining today! We'll be back tomorrow for another three fixtures.