Spain went to the top of Group B after beating a frustrating Iran side 1-0 in the Kazan Arena.
La Rojas’ main man Diego Costa scored the only goal of the game at the start of the second half to take his World Cup tally to three goals and secure all three points for his national side.
Spain bossed the game from start to finish and came out with just over 70 percent possession to take top spot in their group due to having less cards than Portugal.
Iran went into the game with a record of 13 clean sheets in a row which is remarkable for any side let alone a side of Iran’s stature, but that showed in the first half.
The first 45 minutes was more like attack v defence with the Spaniards camped in the oppositions final third. Espana had the lion share of possession and tried everything to create opportunities but the Iranians stayed strong and defended stoutly.
Spain’s best chance came through the link up of Isco and Iniesta who fed the ball to David Silva inside the 18 yard box but his shot was well blocked by the middle-eastern centre back, this was the narrative of the first half.
Eventually Spain broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute in the strangest of fashion. Costa went to shoot inside the box and was tackled by right back Rezaeian, the ball then ricochetted back off the striker into the back off the net. The goal was fortunate but thoroughly deserved.
Iran thought they had drawn level ten minutes later through Saied Ezzotollahli. He met a free kick at the back post and bundled it home to send the Iranian squad and fans into raptures, only for VAR to strike again and disallow the goal for offside.
Iran came out to play after conceding and had chances to equalise. Their best fell to Mehdi Taremi, but his bullet header from six yards out just went over the bar.
Spain ran out deserving winners but with Iran not out of the last 16 hunt yet, can they do the unthinkable and beat Portugal to qualify?