Spain player ratings as Silva stands out but De Gea is 'shaky' against Iran

Andy West 21/06/2018
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A deflected strike from Diego Costa handed Spain their first victory in World Cup 2018 against Iran.

La Roja were given a tough fight by Carlos Queiroz’s men, and things remained goalless at half-time.

Costa’s goal came in the 54th minute, and while Iran did manage to get one back, it was disallowed by the referee due to Saeid Ezatolahi being offside.

Here we take a look at player ratings for Fernando Hierro’s Spanish side.

David de Gea – 5: Had little to do but still managed to look shaky. A real worry for Spain heading into the latter stages.

Dani Carvajal – 7: Returned to action following injury and always looking to advance down the right wing. Looks fully fit which is great news for Spain.

Gerard Pique – 6: Little defending required but was occasionally troubled by the physicality of opposing striker Azmoun. Below his best.

Sergio Ramos – 7: Defended with stern determination and sent an ambitious long-range free-kick into the wall as his team pushed for the opener.

Jordi Alba – 6: Struggled to make an attacking impact in the tight spaces of Iran’s penalty box but defended with diligence.

David Silva – 8: Always probing from the centre of the pitch and a regular goal threat, hooking one shot over the bar and having another blocked.

Sergi Busquets – 7: More advanced than usual as Iran sat back and had a rare long-range strike saved. Took control after the opener.

Isco enjoyed a good night in midfield.

Isco – 8: Took the lead role in Spain’s attempts to break down Iran and produced some spectacular touches, always looking his team’s most creative force.

Lucas Vazquez – 5: Selected to give penetration down the right wing but failed to do so. Replaced by Asensio after a disappointing display.

Diego Costa – 6: Desperately struggled to get involved in the first half but was in the right place to break the deadlock with a flukey deflection.

Andres Iniesta – 6: Very quiet until he sparked the opening goal with a classy dribble. Replaced shortly after having done his job.

Koke – 6: The first introduction, replacing Iniesta in midfield, and shored things up in the middle.

Marco Asensio – 5:  Played down the right wing in the latter stages but failed to make much impact.

Rodrigo – 6: Introduced for the final few minutes, with little chance to impress.

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Fernando Hierro fails to affect play as Spain hold on for 1-0 win over Iran

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Spain managed to edge past Iran with a 1-0 win in a World Cup Group B encounter at the Kazan Arena on Wednesday.

Diego Costa scored the only goal of the game when the ball was hit onto his shin before nestling in the back of the net in the 54th minute.

While the Spaniards dominated possession, it was Iran that looked the more threatening in the closing stages and had to be kept at bay.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 1

Shots – 18

Possession – 79%

Tackles – 8

Dribbles – 21

30-SECOND REPORT

Hierro set up his side in what looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Andres Iniesta alongside Sergio Busquets while Isco, David Silva and Lucas Vazquez made up the three behind front man Diego Costa.

Iniesta, however, operated further forward with Spain dominating possession, leaving Sergio Ramos to step up from the defensive line and support Busquets in central midfield, leading the duo to make the second and third most passes in the game (99 and 97) behind Isco (103).

On the ball: Sergio Ramos.

On the ball: Sergio Ramos.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Lack of genuine width 

Koke dropped out of the XI that faced Portugal with Vazquez coming in instead. The Real Madrid winger was presumably expected to provide some width down the right side and help stretch the Iranian defence but he had a disappointing outing.

He gave the ball away more than any other Spain player and got sucked into central areas. When he did get wide, his crosses (4) failed to find a team-mate. The full-backs did act as auxiliary wingers but the ball wasn’t zipped into them with any urgency. Spain dwelled on possession through the middle and seemed only to play it wide when short of options in the centre. The lack of aerial threat from open play didn’t help matters.

Lacking width: Lucas Vazquez (L).

Lacking width: Lucas Vazquez (l).

VERDICT

His side did dominate play but were fortunate with the goal. Hierro seemed reluctant to make changes to alter the course of the game. Marco Asensio only came on with 10 minutes to play when they could’ve used his pace and direct running to create inroads that their intricate passing could not, and pull players out of position.

Rating – 5/10

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Best images as Spain hold on to win 1-0 against Iran after Diego Costa goal

Sport360 staff 21/06/2018

Diego Costa‘s goal guided Spain to a hard-earned 1-0 win over Iran on Wednesday.

Spain’s victory means they are now level with Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Portugal in Group B on four points each.

Underdogs Iran put on a show to keep the game goalless at the break, but Costa’s deflected strike put Spain ahead at the 54th minute mark.

Iran did score, Saeid Ezatolahi managing to put the ball inside Spain’s net in the 63rd minute, but it was ruled out with the help of the Video Assistant Referee.

Here we take a look at some of the best images as Spain held on to get three valuable points.

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