Diego Costa shows he's the man for Spain

Spain star Isco was praised on Wednesday after taking time out before his country's crucial World Cup group game with Iran to safely escort an injured bird off the pitch.

Fernando Hierro's side had to wait until the 25th minute for their first attempt on goal, David Silva's long-range free-kick comfortably held by Alireza Beiranvand.

Iran was later denied an equaliser by the video assistant referee as the got a word in his ear that "goal-scorer" Saeid Ezatolahi was in fact offside. "We know it will be hard against Portugal but we don't come here expecting easy things".

Don Hutchison says while Spain narrowly defeated Iran, there was always going to be one victor in the match.

Spain's 1-0 win over Iran was the ninth 1-0 victory at the 2018 World Cup, one more than the total recorded in the whole of the 2014 World Cup group stage. Do not cut, copy or lift any content from this website without our consent.

Of course, with all due respect to Morocco, the Group B opener last Friday was - on paper - always going to be Team Melli's best chance of getting three points.

Some great vision from Iniesta, and a slice of luck, however broke Iranian hearts when Costa spun and latched on to the ball before seeing his shot rebound off Ramin Rezaeian and into the net.

"We only care about sporting matters", he said.

But Iran refused to buckle, Carlos Queiroz's men coming close in the final minutes when midfielder Mehdi Taremi headed just over.

"We will stick to the style that defines us as a team, but we have to pass the ball around a lot more and maintain possession".

Carvajal also said he hopes the rest of the opposition Spain face in the tournament will be a bit more ambitious.

"If there was a magic potion to compare (Iran) to the Spanish team for a million dollars, we would buy it, it would be cheap".

"We're praying for him at the moment", added Queiroz, whose team will need to beat Portugal next Monday if they are to make the next round of the World Cup.

He only had one chance against Iran, and he converted it.

"We needed to play deep on the right and have some space there for Lucas and Dani when they had to fight two against one", Hierro explained.

Iran will be without defender Roozbeh Cheshmi, who will miss the remainder of the World Cup after picking up an injury during training. Portugal and Iran are also yet to play each other.

"Do we have any doubts considering the changes of the coaching team?"

  • Marlene Weaver