Iran 0 Spain 1: Costa Goal Breaks Stubborn Resistance

Spain’s Diego Costa celebrates scoring a goal against Portugal last week

Diego Costa scored with each of his first three shots on target at World Cup tournaments for Spain.

Spain, looking to emulate their 2010 triumph when Andres Iniesta hit an extra-time victor to deny the Netherlands in the final, now sit top of Group B before a final match against Morocco, who restricted Portugal to a 1-0 win earlier on Wednesday.

2010 winners Spain will be looking to move into the second stage of Group B with a positive result to build on their 3-3 draw with Portugal, as they showed some impressive attacking football but found themselves repeatedly pinned back by a scintillating Cristiano Ronaldo.

With three points from its opening win against Morocco, Iran can still qualify for the knockout round but will need to beat Portugal on Monday in Saransk.

The strike sparked wild celebrations before being ruled out for offside by referee Andres Cunha on the advice of the the linesman and Video Assistant Referee (VAR) replay. "You can't just say that because it's your national team playing". "We saw against Portugal the team played like a united team, as if nothing happened".

"It's really a unique opportunity for us to play against Spain".

The stakes were high, and Iran continued to the threaten heavily favored Spain for the rest of the match, but couldn't break through.


- Diego Costa has scored eight goals in his last eight global starts for Spain - he scored with both of his shots on target in their 3-3 draw with Portugal.

However, the 2010 World Cup winners had a hard evening against the dogged and well-drilled Iranian team, who posed them problems in the second-half when they came out of their defensive shell.

Iran were brilliant in defence for much of the night but also made a number of telling incursions. We are still alive and still dreaming'.

Also a subject for meme was the unusual way in which Iranian defender Milad Mohammadi tried to throw the ball in the last minutes of the match. Among them is Isco, who was the first to congratulate Costa on his goal against the Iranians and who had nothing but praise for the striker on exiting the dressing room: "I hope he goes on to get a lot more goals".

Click through the gallery above to see a few images from Spain's 1-0 win over Iran. These are the types of games that win World Cups.

Iran will also welcome back rising star Saeid Ezatolahi, who was suspended against Morocco, and - while it never seems wise to mess with a winning formula, the dynamic midfielder could prove impossible to omit.

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