We’ve seen some upsets in this World Cup so far and we almost came close to seeing another one tonight. Coming of their 3-3 draw with Portugal, Spain was the clear favorite coming into their match with Iran and showed just why. They were dominant in every stat, holding 78% of the possession in the match.
Iran, who were coming off a 1-0 win over Morocco, opted to ‘park the bus’ the majority of this match and it didn’t quite pay off. There’s not much to take away from the first half because it was all Spain with nothing to show for it on the scoresheet. Although, Isco made a pivot pass to Iniesta in the box that didn’t result in a shot on net, but was beautiful to watch unfold. Otherwise, a fairly uneventful first half compared to the Spain-Portugal match.
It took forever for a goal to be scored and it finally happened 54 minutes in. Diego Costa once again found himself on the scoresheet after a great turn and some luck with an Iran defender kicking it off of Costa’s knee.
Sometimes luck is all you kneed.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 20, 2018
(we'll see ourselves out) pic.twitter.com/B6arwyukFU
In the 63rd minute of action, Iran would tie the match in a goal that would have been historic for them. However, the referee consulted VAR and determined the goal was offside and would not stand. VAR has worked quite well in this tournament so far.
Iran thought they had equalized but VAR ruled it was offside! pic.twitter.com/CObtXL78Sq— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 20, 2018
Spain would come close to scoring again on a mad scramble in front of the Iran net. The Iran defense would stack on each other in order to prevent the score from being 2-0 for the Spanish.
The Spain goal seemed to inspire Iran a bit and they did pick up their play and gave Spain some trouble. Their best chance, other than the offside goal, came when Pique got worked on a nutmeg that led to a great chance for Iran.
Iran would end up with 7 shots for the match, none of them on target. They played well but Spain were clearly the better side.
He played great again tonight, arguably Spain’s best player in this tournament so far. He makes subtle, yet smart passes that leads to Spain’s creativity and chances. He’s the heartbeat of their offense because he never stops running and he really does help dictate play.
This is his first match starting since his injury in the Champions League Final and he still looks like he may not be 100%. He didn’t play bad, but he didn’t seem like the Carvajal we’re used to seeing at right back. As he heals more, he should begin to elevate his play back to normal. I think Nacho had a better match against Portugal than Carvajal had against Iran.
He didn’t have a great match himself either. He started over Koke and really didn’t seem to create anything on the right side. He had one chance that he missed, but he was relatively quiet otherwise. If Koke doesn’t start, I would give Asensio a chance in his spot. Vasquez just didn’t impress tonight for Spain as a starter.
This marked his international debut for Spain and he seemed comfortable for the ten minutes he was on. I think he could really contribute as a starter and would be a good option against Morocco.
He looked very good again tonight as he did against Portugal. With Pique not playing well at all these last two matches, more pressure is on Ramos defensively. He’s looked like the World Cup’s best defender so far and it will likely continue. I think changing his beard to a goatee is going help him a lot as well throughout the World Cup, as it has for Ronaldo.
Spain will be back in action on Monday when they take on Morocco, the last group matchup for the Spanish. Real Madrid players continue to be a crucial impact on the Spanish squad.