Carlos Queiroz could not have been more courteous in his evaluation of Fernando Hierro's Spain when describing them as "Supermen", but after Iran's 1-0 defeat to La Roja in Kazan the Portuguese coach was left ruing bad luck as his own team's kryptonite.
It was not until the 25th minute that Spain had a shot on target, with Silva sending a free kick straight into the arms of keeper Ali Beiranvand.More news: Why Didn't Kate Middleton, Prince William Attend His Cousin's Wedding?
They need to try because Costa, who has been at his battering-ram best, might not provide a get-out-of-jail card every time Spain play. It was a defense-first game, with only a single goal scored throughout.
But it was cruel on Iran and fortunate for Costa as the Atletico Madrid striker fired the ball against Ramin Rezaeian but it deflected back off the Spain player and into goal. Iran win a throw deep inside the Spain half and Pique nods down. but only as far as Haji Safi, who murders what looks like a brilliant finish into the back of the net. but it's the side-netting!
But, two minutes after the hour mark, Iran thought they had pulled level when their opponents failed to clear their lines from a freekick, allowing Saeid Ezatolahi to smash home the loose ball. He also has nine goals in his last nine starts for Spain.More news: Multiple Undocumented Immigrants Killed In Car Chase
Iran went down narrowly to Argentina at the last World Cup with a similarly battling performance only, exhausted by their efforts, lost 3-1 to Bosnia and Herzegovina in their final group match. What can happen once in a while is a group of people, when they are united, can create super stories and super things. Iran was also unsafe on the break, using the speed of its attacking players to threaten the Spanish back four but without creating many real chances.
Spain seemed rejuvenated after the interval, with Sergio Busquets unleashing a searing long-range strike that forced Beiranvand into a brilliant double save.
The 2010 champions needed a fortuitous Diego Costa goal after half-time, having been frustrated in an opening period in which they had 81% of possession. The Iranians were awarded a freekick which they fail to goal in on!More news: Melania Trump calls for end to immigrants’ family separation
"What game were you watching?" said Costa when probed by a Spanish journalist.
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