Iran: Beiranvand; Rezaeain, Pouraliganji, Hosseini, Haji Safi (Mohammadi 68’); Ezatolahi; Taremi, Ebrahimi, Amiri (Ghoddos 86’), Ansarifard (Jahanbakhsh 73’); Azmoun. 4-1-4-1.
Spain: De Gea; Dani Carvajal, Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Iniesta (Koke 69‘); Lucas Vázquez (Marco Asensio 78’), Isco, David Silva; Diego Costa (Rodrigo 88’). 4-2-3-1.
0-1. 53. Diego Costa. Deflected attempted Rezaeain clearance into net with knee.
Yellow cards: Amiri 78’, Ebrahimi 90’.
Spain struggled in their second group game against Iran, but in the end a lucky goal by Diego Costa gave them a 0-1 victory. Fernando Hierro’s side had problems against an ultra-defensive line-up, and they hardly managed a shot on goal throughout the first half. Some ten minutes after the restart however Costa picked up a pass from Iniesta, and although Rezaeian got in a tackle, the striker stuck out a knee to deflect the ball into the net. Eztolahi had a goal ruled out for offside soon afterwards (confirmed by the VAR), and Amiri and Taremi both had chances to level the scores later on. Spain’s best chance after that came when Piqué and Costa both failed to force the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble, but Costa’s goal was enough for three vital points, and a draw against the already eliminated Morocco in La Roja’s next match will see them through to the knock-out stage.