Costa inspires Spain to 1-0 win over Iran

2018-06-21 01:28:53 GMT2018-06-21 09:28:53(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

KAZAN, Russia, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Diego Costa's lone goal in the second half gave Spain a 1-0 win over Iran in their World Cup Group B match here on Wednesday.

Sergio Busquets (L) of Spain vies with Sardar Azmoun (C) of Iran during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei) Sergio Busquets (L) of Spain vies with Sardar Azmoun (C) of Iran during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand of Iran defends during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng) Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand of Iran defends during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
Sergio Ramos (R) of Spain reacts during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei) Sergio Ramos (R) of Spain reacts during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
Isco (L) of Spain passes the ball during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng) Isco (L) of Spain passes the ball during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
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Players of Spain pose for a group photo prior to a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei) Players of Spain pose for a group photo prior to a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
Players of Spain pose for a group photo prior to a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei) Players of Spain pose for a group photo prior to a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
Fans of Spain and Iran pose for photos prior to a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng) Fans of Spain and Iran pose for photos prior to a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
Diego Costa (1st L) of Spain celebrates scoring during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng) Diego Costa (1st L) of Spain celebrates scoring during a Group B match between Spain and Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kazan, Russia, June 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)

After a goalless first-half, Diego Costa broke the deadlock for Spain in the 54th minute by pushing the ball past Ali Beiranvand into the bottom-left corner after meeting a pass from Andres Iniesta.

Saeid Ezatolahi almost leveled the score for Iran in the 62nd minute, but the Iranians' cheers were cut short when the goal was ruled offside with the help of video assistant referee (VAR) system.

Iran won the second victory in its World Cup history on June 15 in a dramatic way, after Moroccan substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz headed the ball into his own net.

Wednesday's match opened with Spain launching fierce attacks but failing to find clear-cut chances as the Iranian side put up a strong defense.

The Spanish side made their first threat in the 3rd minute, as Carvajal kicked a speculative shot but was headed away by Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand. Only one minute later, another shot from Spain was tipped away by Beiranvand.

The Iranians only made two attempt at the goal in the first half, as Vahid Amiriin shot wide in the 7th minute and Karim Ansarifard pushed a low shot off the right post in the 14th minute.

Facing Spain's fierce attacks, the Iranian side tightened their defense to their own half-court in the rest of the first half and practically left Spain no chance.

Paces picked up in the second half with Spain desperate to make a breakthrough.

After Costa scored in the 54th minute, the Iranians changed strategy and showed more attacking intents but failed to get even.

FIFA statistics showed that Spain made 17 attempts at the goal throughout the match, while Iran made only 5. Ball possession was 69 percent for Spain and 31 percent for Denmark.

Diego Costa, having scored three times in the first two matches of World Cup this year, was chosen as man of the match.

After the second round of Group B matches, Spain and Portugal are jointly leading with four points, while Iran had three points with one win and one loss. Morocco, meanwhile, have practically lost the chance to reach the knockout phase after being beaten twice.

Iran will meet Portugal in their last group match while 2010 champions Spain take on Morocco.

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