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World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal as Morocco's Munir Mohamedi picks the ball out of the goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal as Morocco's Munir Mohamedi picks the ball out of the goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
Portugal vs Morocco, World Cup 2018 - live score and latest updates as Cristiano Ronaldo scores again
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
Portugal vs Morocco, World Cup 2018 - live score and latest updates as Cristiano Ronaldo scores again
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
Portugal vs Morocco, World Cup 2018 - live score and latest updates as Cristiano Ronaldo scores again
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
Portugal vs Morocco, World Cup 2018 - live score and latest updates as Cristiano Ronaldo scores again
1:44PM 44 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 More smart play by those Moroccan men on the right side. First time, the ball is hacked clear. Second time, the ball is chested back to Patricio to bring an end to the attack. "Guerreiro is making Amrabat look world class," says Martin Keown. 1:42PM 42 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Guedes probably should have done better with that chance. He had a lot of goal to aim at, but stuck it far too close to Mohamedi. 1:40PM 40 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A big chance for Portugal to double their lead! It's come from nothing as Morocco switch off slightly and allow Guedes to latch onto a little Ronaldo dink over the top. The Portugal frontman hits the ball on the run and Mohamedi palms away, moving to his left. Benatia is then booked for a foul on Ronaldo soon after. 1:38PM 38 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A lovely overlap sees Hakimi drive high up the pitch for Morocco, but Boutaib cannot keep hold of the ball inside the Portugal penalty area. Back they come again though and Portugal twice have to hoof the ball clear. 1:36PM 36 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A few fouls coming in from both sides in the middle of the park. Still no yellow cards been shown. Portugal vs Morocco shots on goal 1:32PM 32 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 ... Ronaldo marks out his run-up, pulls up his shorts, puffs his cheeks... and then whacks the ball into the Morocco wall. 1:31PM 31 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are again appealing for a penalty as Fonte crashes into Boutaib inside the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested. Portugal then go straight down the other end and win a free-kick 20 yards out from goal. Step up you know who... 1:30PM 30 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ronaldo has barely got a look for the past 15mins or so. His side just cannot retain possession. Morocco fans at Luzhniki respond to Ronaldo’s complaints by singing ‘Messi, Messi’. An old one but a good one— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) June 20, 2018 1:28PM 28 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Amrabat, playing on the right wing today (he played right-back against Iran) is tearing Guerreiro to pieces every time he gets the ball. He just about wriggles clear of the Portugal left-back, ventures into the Portugal penalty area and then tumbles over as Guerreiro fights back to apply some pressure. It looked as though both players were clinging on to their opposite man and Morocco's penalty appeals are waved away. Correct. No need for VAR to intervene. 1:25PM 25 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A bit of an ouchy for Ronaldo prompts the Portugal star to roll around in howls, while clutching his ankle (which was caught by Benatia). A foul is given, but no card shown, and Ronaldo's recovery is swift - almost like it didn't hurt that much in the first place. 1:23PM 23 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Ziyech, who has been making quite a name for himself at Ajax this season, is causing plenty of problems and this time tries his luck from range. Nothing too troubling for Patricio, but Ziyech is an attacking player of some talent. 1:22PM 22 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Portugal are really struggling to retain possession. Morocco are pressing so high in the opposition half and Portugal are frequently pushed further and further back. Bar the goal, you have to be impressed with how the Moroccans have played so far. 1:19PM 19 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Morocco are continuing to cause all sorts of problems. Amrabat and Dirar link up smartly down the right (where all the problems are coming from), before the Morocco right-back pulls the ball back dangerously into the penalty area, but the shot under pressure flies over the bar. 1:17PM 17 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 BREAKING NEWS: Amrabat has just flung his skull cap towards the bench in disgust, revealing his gloriously shaved bonce. 1:16PM 16 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 This game is very open in these early stages. Neither side is sitting back on the ball, which is making for plenty of action. Morocco are a goal behind but not playing poorly at all. They are pressing with vigour. 1:14PM 14 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 The Moroccans are pushing hard at the moment, forcing Portugal deep inside their own half and winning another corner. It is only half-cleared before being delivered again for Da Costa to head well wide. 1:13PM 13 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 A couple of nice Ronaldo stats: 85 - Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football (85 goals for Portugal). Historic. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/I3wsEJTGlQ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 2 - Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first Portugal player since José Torres in 1966 to score a goal with his right foot, left foot and head in a single World Cup tournament. Collection. #POR#MAR#PORMAR#Ronaldo#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/liZrUSyXmq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 1:12PM 11 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Credit to Morocco, they haven't responded too badly to going behind and Amrabat is causing problems against an ageing (actually, very much aged) Portugal defence down the right. The north African side win a corner, which finds Da Costa unmarked in the middle of the box and his header is held on the line by Patricio diving low to his right. 1:10PM 9 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 Here comes Ronaldo again. Guerreiro is allowed far, far too much space to bring the ball deep inside Morocco's half. Inside it comes to Ronaldo, who attempts to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but scuffs his shot wide of the post. He's in the mood. 1:07PM 6 mins - Portugal 1 Morocco 0 That was such poor marking and Ronaldo is just too good for that. Morocco's World Cup 2018 future is dangling by a thread. 1:05PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL And you don't even need me to tell you who scored it. The corner is whipped to the edge of the six-yard box where Ronaldo is woefully marked. The Real Madrid man flings himself powerfully at the ball and bullets a header past Mohamedi in goal to put Portugal ahead. Portugal 1 - 0 Morocco (Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 min) 1:04PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 Now it is Portugal's turn to venture upfield through Bernardo Silva on the right. He wins a first corner that ends with Guerreiro seeing a shot deflected over for a second corner... 1:02PM 2 mins - Portugal 0 Morocco 0 An early foray forward sees the skull-capped Amrabat deliver a cross from the right. Portugal cannot release the pressure and the ball is worked back into the penalty area from the left where Boutaib meets it and heads over the bar. A lively start from the Moroccans. 1:00PM Kick-off Morocco in red get this match underway. Portugal are in white. Morocco must win to keep their hopes of progressing alive. 12:55PM Game time The teams are out and the anthems are being sung. Almost ready. 12:48PM Bang to the head It had been assumed that Amrabat would not feature for Morocco today after he was forced off during the match with Iran when he bashed his head against the floor and suffered a concussion. However, he has been selected and is wearing a Petr Cech-style skull cap in the warm-up. Unsurprisingly, his inclusion in the starting XI has prompted some raised eyebrows. Nordin Amrabat starts. ����#MOR team doctor - Abderrazak Hifti: "I asked him five questions and he could only answer one, I saw clear symptoms of cerebral concussion.” FIFA concussion protocol. Return to competitive play - 6 days ���� pic.twitter.com/m4xi5Coore— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 20, 2018 12:45PM Sun shining on the Luzhniki Credit: reuters Credit: reuters 12:36PM Mismatch? JJ Bull has watched every minute of every match so far at this World Cup, and is thus perfectly placed to tell you who is good and who is rubbish. He has produced a handy guide to all 32 teams, ranking them from worst to best after their opening encounters in Russia. READ IT BY CLICKING HERE. The teams involved in this match are ranked second... and 25th. 12:24PM I see some changes Just the one change from the Portugal side that drew 3-3 with Spain: Joao Mario comes in for Bruno Fernandes on the left wing. Morocco have tinkered a bit more after their shock defeat against Iran, making three changes to the side that started that game. Nabil Dirar and Manuel Da Costa come in, which sees Watford's Nordin Amrabat shifted further forward into a midfield role. Khalid Boutaib replaces Ayoub El Kaabi up top. 12:10PM Here are your teams The teams are in for #PORMAR! #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/73Cx1XolJV— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 12:05PM The main man Let's focus a little more on the undoubted star of today's show: CR7. I don't know what you're talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017 Dashing, isn't he? His hat-trick against Spain was phenomenal and broke or matched a number of records: He joined Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose as only the fourth player to score in four separate World Cup tournaments. He became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments (World Cup, European Championships, Copa America). At 33 years and 130 days, he became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history. At an age when most players are considered either past it or on the decline, Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing. Consider this: 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups = 70 shots, 3 goals. 2018 World Cup = 4 shots, 3 goals. Stop him if you can. 11:35AM Ronaldo vs Morocco The meticulously marked out run-up, the ludicrous power pose, the rolled up shorts to expose those bulging thighs, the puff of the cheeks and the fiery stare. Everything about Cristiano Ronaldo's 89th-minute hat-trick goal against Spain last Friday was pure theatre. And wasn't it brilliant? A man who - love him or loathe him - lives for the biggest moments. A man who makes it All. About. Him. And then - THEN - he goes and delivers. If anyone thought Portugal were a one-man team at this World Cup, last Friday's match only reinforced such an opinion. Their 3-3 draw against Spain showcased two things about Portugal's team: Ronaldo's total brilliance and the rest of team's (including your Bernardo Silvas, your Joao Moutinhos etc) bang averageness. That draw means Portugal have emerged from their toughest match of Group B with a point and today they face a Morocco side who were stunned by Iran in their opener. The Moroccans would have come to this World Cup knowing the scale of the task facing them in a group containing Spain and Portugal. The plan: do Iran over and then see if you can get a result against one of the big boys. So much for that. The north African side dominated for much of their opening match, but paid the price for their profligacy in front of goal. Just as it looked like Iran would cling on for an admirable goalless draw, Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz stuck the ball in his own net in the 95th minute to gift the most unlikely of victories. That has left Morocco in a whole heap of bother. Herve Renard knows his side now cannot afford to lose either of their remaining two games against the two heavyweights of the group. These two sides have met once before at a World Cup and it was Morocco who came out on top in a 3-1 win. That was Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at any World Cup and the bookies have Ronaldo and chums as fairly heavy favourites to triumph today.
Soccer Football - World Cup - Germany Press Conference - Sochi, Russia - June 20, 2018 Germany's Thomas Muller during the press conference REUTERS/Hannah McKay
World Cup - Germany Press Conference
Soccer Football - World Cup - Germany Press Conference - Sochi, Russia - June 20, 2018 Germany's Thomas Muller during the press conference REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Bert van Marwijk is often reluctant to single players out for praise but he believes Aaron Mooy could reach a bigger Premier League club.
Mooy can play at a higher level, says Socceroos boss Van Marwijk
Bert van Marwijk is often reluctant to single players out for praise but he believes Aaron Mooy could reach a bigger Premier League club.
Steven Gerrard will launch his competitive managerial career at home when his Ranger side – currently in the process of a major overhaul – take on FK Shkupi of Macedonia in the Europa League at Ibrox on July 12. Shkupi, who are based in Skopje, finished fourth in the Macedonian First Division and are competing in Europe for the first time. On the face of it, they should not present a significant obstacle to Gerrard and his players but the former Liverpool and England captain has only to look back a year to be warned that hazards exist even at this embryonic stage of the competition. Last summer Rangers suffered the worst European result in their history when, under Pedro Caixinha, they were beaten by Progres Niederkorn, of Luxembourg despite winning 1-0 in the first leg at Ibrox. Although the allure of watching the first appearance of Gerrard’s Rangers will attract a crowd of close to the Ibrox capacity of 50,817, far fewer travelling supporters will be able to travel to the second leg in Macedonia on July 19. Shkupi’s Cair Stadium can accommodate just 6,000 spectators, of whom only 2,000 can be seated. Gerrard and his squad are in Spain for pre-season training and the manager has declared that his priority is to see an improvement in fitness levels. Meanwhile, Neil Lennon’s Hibernian were also in the draw for the first qualifying round of the Europa League and will begin by meeting NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands at Easter Road on July 12, before heading north for the return on July 19. Runavik have made 11 appearances in European competition and have yet to record an aggregate win although, like Shkupi, the islanders can draw inspiration from Progres Niederkorn, who were in the same situation until they accounted for Rangers.
Rangers handed Europa League first qualifying round tie with FK Shkupi
Steven Gerrard will launch his competitive managerial career at home when his Ranger side – currently in the process of a major overhaul – take on FK Shkupi of Macedonia in the Europa League at Ibrox on July 12. Shkupi, who are based in Skopje, finished fourth in the Macedonian First Division and are competing in Europe for the first time. On the face of it, they should not present a significant obstacle to Gerrard and his players but the former Liverpool and England captain has only to look back a year to be warned that hazards exist even at this embryonic stage of the competition. Last summer Rangers suffered the worst European result in their history when, under Pedro Caixinha, they were beaten by Progres Niederkorn, of Luxembourg despite winning 1-0 in the first leg at Ibrox. Although the allure of watching the first appearance of Gerrard’s Rangers will attract a crowd of close to the Ibrox capacity of 50,817, far fewer travelling supporters will be able to travel to the second leg in Macedonia on July 19. Shkupi’s Cair Stadium can accommodate just 6,000 spectators, of whom only 2,000 can be seated. Gerrard and his squad are in Spain for pre-season training and the manager has declared that his priority is to see an improvement in fitness levels. Meanwhile, Neil Lennon’s Hibernian were also in the draw for the first qualifying round of the Europa League and will begin by meeting NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands at Easter Road on July 12, before heading north for the return on July 19. Runavik have made 11 appearances in European competition and have yet to record an aggregate win although, like Shkupi, the islanders can draw inspiration from Progres Niederkorn, who were in the same situation until they accounted for Rangers.
Ushuru will be playing Mwatate United in the Shield Cup this weekend in the round of 32
Kenyatta: We have to treat each game like a final
Ushuru will be playing Mwatate United in the Shield Cup this weekend in the round of 32
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Carl Recine
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Carl Recine
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Carl Recine
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Carl Recine
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo scores their first goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo scores their first goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal as Morocco's Munir Mohamedi picks the ball out of the goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Portugal vs Morocco - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 20, 2018 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal as Morocco's Munir Mohamedi picks the ball out of the goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
West Ham United are increasingly confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee which could be as high as £35 million. Talks have progressed between West Ham and Anderson’s representatives with one source close to the deal saying there is now a “big chance” that it will be completed. It comes after West Ham announced their third signing after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager with the confirmation that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been acquired from relegated Swansea City for £7m on a three-year contract. Having signed the 33 year-old, who is at the World Cup with Poland, West Ham are also continuing to hold talks for another Swansea player, Alfie Mawson. West Ham had been searching for a replacement for Joe Hart following the end of his loan spell from Premier League champions Manchester City and targeted Fabianski, who is Swansea’s current player of the year. "Lukasz is an experienced and established Premier League goalkeeper, with great quality that he has shown at both domestic and international level," said West Ham’s new director of football Mario Husillos. "He fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution, and will bring strong competition to the position." Lukasz Fabianski has signed for West Ham Credit: getty images West Ham also have Adrian who played much of last season after Hart was dropped. In a sign of their ambition - and wanting to get deals done quickly - West Ham have also completed the signing of defender Issa Diop from Toulouse for £22m on a five-year deal. The 21 year-old is a France Under-21 international and was club captain at his hometown club. West Ham have also brought in Ryan Fredericks from newly-promoted Fulham, on a four-year contract, after he became a free agent. Issa Diop has his West Ham medical Credit: getty images However, it will be the signing of Anderson which will excite the West Ham fans. The 25-year-old right-winger scored four goals and provided seven assists in 21 appearances in Serie A last season and also scored three times in the Italian club’s Europa League campaign. Anderson has been capped by Brazil and was signed from the Brazilian club Santos by Lazio for £6.75m in 2015 and has been scouted by a number of leading clubs, including those in the Premier League.
West Ham confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for club-record £35m fee
West Ham United are increasingly confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee which could be as high as £35 million. Talks have progressed between West Ham and Anderson’s representatives with one source close to the deal saying there is now a “big chance” that it will be completed. It comes after West Ham announced their third signing after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager with the confirmation that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been acquired from relegated Swansea City for £7m on a three-year contract. Having signed the 33 year-old, who is at the World Cup with Poland, West Ham are also continuing to hold talks for another Swansea player, Alfie Mawson. West Ham had been searching for a replacement for Joe Hart following the end of his loan spell from Premier League champions Manchester City and targeted Fabianski, who is Swansea’s current player of the year. "Lukasz is an experienced and established Premier League goalkeeper, with great quality that he has shown at both domestic and international level," said West Ham’s new director of football Mario Husillos. "He fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution, and will bring strong competition to the position." Lukasz Fabianski has signed for West Ham Credit: getty images West Ham also have Adrian who played much of last season after Hart was dropped. In a sign of their ambition - and wanting to get deals done quickly - West Ham have also completed the signing of defender Issa Diop from Toulouse for £22m on a five-year deal. The 21 year-old is a France Under-21 international and was club captain at his hometown club. West Ham have also brought in Ryan Fredericks from newly-promoted Fulham, on a four-year contract, after he became a free agent. Issa Diop has his West Ham medical Credit: getty images However, it will be the signing of Anderson which will excite the West Ham fans. The 25-year-old right-winger scored four goals and provided seven assists in 21 appearances in Serie A last season and also scored three times in the Italian club’s Europa League campaign. Anderson has been capped by Brazil and was signed from the Brazilian club Santos by Lazio for £6.75m in 2015 and has been scouted by a number of leading clubs, including those in the Premier League.
West Ham United are increasingly confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee which could be as high as £35 million. Talks have progressed between West Ham and Anderson’s representatives with one source close to the deal saying there is now a “big chance” that it will be completed. It comes after West Ham announced their third signing after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager with the confirmation that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been acquired from relegated Swansea City for £7m on a three-year contract. Having signed the 33 year-old, who is at the World Cup with Poland, West Ham are also continuing to hold talks for another Swansea player, Alfie Mawson. West Ham had been searching for a replacement for Joe Hart following the end of his loan spell from Premier League champions Manchester City and targeted Fabianski, who is Swansea’s current player of the year. "Lukasz is an experienced and established Premier League goalkeeper, with great quality that he has shown at both domestic and international level," said West Ham’s new director of football Mario Husillos. "He fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution, and will bring strong competition to the position." Lukasz Fabianski has signed for West Ham Credit: getty images West Ham also have Adrian who played much of last season after Hart was dropped. In a sign of their ambition - and wanting to get deals done quickly - West Ham have also completed the signing of defender Issa Diop from Toulouse for £22m on a five-year deal. The 21 year-old is a France Under-21 international and was club captain at his hometown club. West Ham have also brought in Ryan Fredericks from newly-promoted Fulham, on a four-year contract, after he became a free agent. Issa Diop has his West Ham medical Credit: getty images However, it will be the signing of Anderson which will excite the West Ham fans. The 25-year-old right-winger scored four goals and provided seven assists in 21 appearances in Serie A last season and also scored three times in the Italian club’s Europa League campaign. Anderson has been capped by Brazil and was signed from the Brazilian club Santos by Lazio for £6.75m in 2015 and has been scouted by a number of leading clubs, including those in the Premier League.
West Ham confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for club-record £35m fee
West Ham United are increasingly confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee which could be as high as £35 million. Talks have progressed between West Ham and Anderson’s representatives with one source close to the deal saying there is now a “big chance” that it will be completed. It comes after West Ham announced their third signing after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager with the confirmation that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been acquired from relegated Swansea City for £7m on a three-year contract. Having signed the 33 year-old, who is at the World Cup with Poland, West Ham are also continuing to hold talks for another Swansea player, Alfie Mawson. West Ham had been searching for a replacement for Joe Hart following the end of his loan spell from Premier League champions Manchester City and targeted Fabianski, who is Swansea’s current player of the year. "Lukasz is an experienced and established Premier League goalkeeper, with great quality that he has shown at both domestic and international level," said West Ham’s new director of football Mario Husillos. "He fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution, and will bring strong competition to the position." Lukasz Fabianski has signed for West Ham Credit: getty images West Ham also have Adrian who played much of last season after Hart was dropped. In a sign of their ambition - and wanting to get deals done quickly - West Ham have also completed the signing of defender Issa Diop from Toulouse for £22m on a five-year deal. The 21 year-old is a France Under-21 international and was club captain at his hometown club. West Ham have also brought in Ryan Fredericks from newly-promoted Fulham, on a four-year contract, after he became a free agent. Issa Diop has his West Ham medical Credit: getty images However, it will be the signing of Anderson which will excite the West Ham fans. The 25-year-old right-winger scored four goals and provided seven assists in 21 appearances in Serie A last season and also scored three times in the Italian club’s Europa League campaign. Anderson has been capped by Brazil and was signed from the Brazilian club Santos by Lazio for £6.75m in 2015 and has been scouted by a number of leading clubs, including those in the Premier League.
West Ham United are increasingly confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee which could be as high as £35 million. Talks have progressed between West Ham and Anderson’s representatives with one source close to the deal saying there is now a “big chance” that it will be completed. It comes after West Ham announced their third signing after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager with the confirmation that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been acquired from relegated Swansea City for £7m on a three-year contract. Having signed the 33 year-old, who is at the World Cup with Poland, West Ham are also continuing to hold talks for another Swansea player, Alfie Mawson. West Ham had been searching for a replacement for Joe Hart following the end of his loan spell from Premier League champions Manchester City and targeted Fabianski, who is Swansea’s current player of the year. "Lukasz is an experienced and established Premier League goalkeeper, with great quality that he has shown at both domestic and international level," said West Ham’s new director of football Mario Husillos. "He fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution, and will bring strong competition to the position." Lukasz Fabianski has signed for West Ham Credit: getty images West Ham also have Adrian who played much of last season after Hart was dropped. In a sign of their ambition - and wanting to get deals done quickly - West Ham have also completed the signing of defender Issa Diop from Toulouse for £22m on a five-year deal. The 21 year-old is a France Under-21 international and was club captain at his hometown club. West Ham have also brought in Ryan Fredericks from newly-promoted Fulham, on a four-year contract, after he became a free agent. Issa Diop has his West Ham medical Credit: getty images However, it will be the signing of Anderson which will excite the West Ham fans. The 25-year-old right-winger scored four goals and provided seven assists in 21 appearances in Serie A last season and also scored three times in the Italian club’s Europa League campaign. Anderson has been capped by Brazil and was signed from the Brazilian club Santos by Lazio for £6.75m in 2015 and has been scouted by a number of leading clubs, including those in the Premier League.
West Ham confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for club-record £35m fee
West Ham United are increasingly confident of signing Lazio winger Felipe Anderson for a club-record fee which could be as high as £35 million. Talks have progressed between West Ham and Anderson’s representatives with one source close to the deal saying there is now a “big chance” that it will be completed. It comes after West Ham announced their third signing after appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager with the confirmation that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been acquired from relegated Swansea City for £7m on a three-year contract. Having signed the 33 year-old, who is at the World Cup with Poland, West Ham are also continuing to hold talks for another Swansea player, Alfie Mawson. West Ham had been searching for a replacement for Joe Hart following the end of his loan spell from Premier League champions Manchester City and targeted Fabianski, who is Swansea’s current player of the year. "Lukasz is an experienced and established Premier League goalkeeper, with great quality that he has shown at both domestic and international level," said West Ham’s new director of football Mario Husillos. "He fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution, and will bring strong competition to the position." Lukasz Fabianski has signed for West Ham Credit: getty images West Ham also have Adrian who played much of last season after Hart was dropped. In a sign of their ambition - and wanting to get deals done quickly - West Ham have also completed the signing of defender Issa Diop from Toulouse for £22m on a five-year deal. The 21 year-old is a France Under-21 international and was club captain at his hometown club. West Ham have also brought in Ryan Fredericks from newly-promoted Fulham, on a four-year contract, after he became a free agent. Issa Diop has his West Ham medical Credit: getty images However, it will be the signing of Anderson which will excite the West Ham fans. The 25-year-old right-winger scored four goals and provided seven assists in 21 appearances in Serie A last season and also scored three times in the Italian club’s Europa League campaign. Anderson has been capped by Brazil and was signed from the Brazilian club Santos by Lazio for £6.75m in 2015 and has been scouted by a number of leading clubs, including those in the Premier League.
The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
Renault Kwid Spied Hiding A Minor Facelift
No, this is not a new entry-level Dacia.
El árbitro Bjorn Kuipers asiste a una sesión de entrenamiento en Moscú, Rusia - 12 de junio de 2018. REUTERS / Tatyana Makeyeva
El árbitro Bjorn Kuipers asiste a una sesión de entrenamiento en Moscú, Rusia
El árbitro Bjorn Kuipers asiste a una sesión de entrenamiento en Moscú, Rusia - 12 de junio de 2018. REUTERS / Tatyana Makeyeva
The award for the top goalscorer at this year's World Cup is set to be one of the most hotly contested in years with an array of attacking talent descending on Russia this summer. Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez is the current holder of the coveted golden boot but the chances of him retaining the award look slim with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane all coming into the tournament on the back of impressive domestic seasons in front of goal. Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the leading contenders for the award before a ball was kicked, stole a march on his rivals with a sensational hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain. The Real Madrid striker netted collected his 51st match ball after his 89th-minute free-kick snatched a point for his country after it looked as though Spain had the game wrapped up. Diego Costa finds himself a goal behind Ronaldo in the early running for the award after scoring a brace in the same game. Russia's Denis Cheryshev is level with Costa after scoring to sublime goals in Russia's 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia on the opening day of the tournament.
World Cup 2018 golden boot race - latest updates
The award for the top goalscorer at this year's World Cup is set to be one of the most hotly contested in years with an array of attacking talent descending on Russia this summer. Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez is the current holder of the coveted golden boot but the chances of him retaining the award look slim with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane all coming into the tournament on the back of impressive domestic seasons in front of goal. Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the leading contenders for the award before a ball was kicked, stole a march on his rivals with a sensational hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain. The Real Madrid striker netted collected his 51st match ball after his 89th-minute free-kick snatched a point for his country after it looked as though Spain had the game wrapped up. Diego Costa finds himself a goal behind Ronaldo in the early running for the award after scoring a brace in the same game. Russia's Denis Cheryshev is level with Costa after scoring to sublime goals in Russia's 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia on the opening day of the tournament.
El arquero de la selección de Túnez, Mouez Hassen, se tira en el suelo después de sufrir una lesión, Volgograd Arena, Volgogrado, Rusia - 18 de junio de 2018 REUTERS / Gleb Garanich
El arquero de la selección de Túnez, Mouez Hassen, se tira en el suelo después de sufrir una lesión, Volgograd Arena, Volgogrado, Rusia
El arquero de la selección de Túnez, Mouez Hassen, se tira en el suelo después de sufrir una lesión, Volgograd Arena, Volgogrado, Rusia - 18 de junio de 2018 REUTERS / Gleb Garanich
People walk past Russian and Spanish flags in the old town of Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
People walk past Russian and Spanish flags in the old town of Damascus
People walk past Russian and Spanish flags in the old town of Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
People watch the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, at a cafe in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
People watch the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, at a cafe in Damascus
People watch the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, at a cafe in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A man holds the Egyptian flag as he watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, at a cafe in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A man holds the Egyptian flag as he watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, at a cafe in Damascus
A man holds the Egyptian flag as he watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, at a cafe in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
People watch the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
People watch the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus
People watch the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A woman holds the Russian flag as she watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A woman holds the Russian flag as she watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus
A woman holds the Russian flag as she watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A woman holds the Russian flag as she watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
A woman holds the Russian flag as she watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus
A woman holds the Russian flag as she watches the World Cup 2018 match between Egypt and Russia, in Damascus, Syria June 19, 2018. Picture taken June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Poland soccer fans sing their national anthem prior to the start of the group H match between Poland and Senegal at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
The Latest: Moroccan player starts in protective headgear
Poland soccer fans sing their national anthem prior to the start of the group H match between Poland and Senegal at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Morocco's Noureddine Amrabat, left, challenges for the ball Portugal's Raphael Guerreiro, right, during the group B match between Portugal and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
The Latest: Moroccan player starts in protective headgear
Morocco's Noureddine Amrabat, left, challenges for the ball Portugal's Raphael Guerreiro, right, during the group B match between Portugal and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the group B match between Portugal and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
The Latest: Moroccan player starts in protective headgear
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the group B match between Portugal and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Referee Joel Aguilar of Salvador signals for video review during the group F match between Sweden and South Korea at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
The Latest: Moroccan player starts in protective headgear
Referee Joel Aguilar of Salvador signals for video review during the group F match between Sweden and South Korea at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Morocco's Noureddine Amrabat is attended to after suffering an injury during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
The Latest: Moroccan player starts in protective headgear
Morocco's Noureddine Amrabat is attended to after suffering an injury during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
High-profile names were eliminated from both the Birmingham Classic and the Mallorca Open, with Naomi Osaka bowing out injured.
Osaka injured in Birmingham, Kerber crashes out in Mallorca
High-profile names were eliminated from both the Birmingham Classic and the Mallorca Open, with Naomi Osaka bowing out injured.
Eugenio Suarez homers off the top of the wall in left field, as the call is overturned after a review in the bottom of the 6th inning
Suarez homers to left field
Eugenio Suarez homers off the top of the wall in left field, as the call is overturned after a review in the bottom of the 6th inning
Eugenio Suarez homers off the top of the wall in left field, as the call is overturned after a review in the bottom of the 6th inning
Suarez homers to left field
Eugenio Suarez homers off the top of the wall in left field, as the call is overturned after a review in the bottom of the 6th inning
Eugenio Suarez homers off the top of the wall in left field, as the call is overturned after a review in the bottom of the 6th inning
Suarez homers to left field
Eugenio Suarez homers off the top of the wall in left field, as the call is overturned after a review in the bottom of the 6th inning
Scooter Gennett hammers a two-run home run into the seats in right, then Eugenio Suarez lines a solo shot to left to give the Reds the lead
Gennett, Suarez go back-to-back
Scooter Gennett hammers a two-run home run into the seats in right, then Eugenio Suarez lines a solo shot to left to give the Reds the lead
Scooter Gennett hammers a two-run home run into the seats in right, then Eugenio Suarez lines a solo shot to left to give the Reds the lead
Gennett, Suarez go back-to-back
Scooter Gennett hammers a two-run home run into the seats in right, then Eugenio Suarez lines a solo shot to left to give the Reds the lead
Scooter Gennett hammers a two-run home run into the seats in right, then Eugenio Suarez lines a solo shot to left to give the Reds the lead
Gennett, Suarez go back-to-back
Scooter Gennett hammers a two-run home run into the seats in right, then Eugenio Suarez lines a solo shot to left to give the Reds the lead
Adam Duvall launches a solo home run into the right-center-field seats to extend the Reds' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning
Duvall's opposite-field home run
Adam Duvall launches a solo home run into the right-center-field seats to extend the Reds' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning
Adam Duvall launches a solo home run into the right-center-field seats to extend the Reds' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning
Duvall's opposite-field home run
Adam Duvall launches a solo home run into the right-center-field seats to extend the Reds' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning
Adam Duvall launches a solo home run into the right-center-field seats to extend the Reds' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning
Duvall's opposite-field home run
Adam Duvall launches a solo home run into the right-center-field seats to extend the Reds' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning
Niko Goodrum cranks a solo home run into the right-center-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning
Goodrum's solo smash
Niko Goodrum cranks a solo home run into the right-center-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning
Rasiel Iglesias gets Nicholas Castellanos to ground out to third, notching his 11th save of the year and securing the Reds' 5-3 win
Iglesias records his 11th save
Rasiel Iglesias gets Nicholas Castellanos to ground out to third, notching his 11th save of the year and securing the Reds' 5-3 win
Rasiel Iglesias gets Nicholas Castellanos to ground out to third, notching his 11th save of the year and securing the Reds' 5-3 win
Iglesias records his 11th save
Rasiel Iglesias gets Nicholas Castellanos to ground out to third, notching his 11th save of the year and securing the Reds' 5-3 win
Rasiel Iglesias gets Nicholas Castellanos to ground out to third, notching his 11th save of the year and securing the Reds' 5-3 win
Iglesias records his 11th save
Rasiel Iglesias gets Nicholas Castellanos to ground out to third, notching his 11th save of the year and securing the Reds' 5-3 win
Niko Goodrum cranks a solo home run into the right-center-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning
Goodrum's solo smash
Niko Goodrum cranks a solo home run into the right-center-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning
Niko Goodrum cranks a solo home run into the right-center-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning
Goodrum's solo smash
Niko Goodrum cranks a solo home run into the right-center-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the top of the 4th inning
The 2014 World Cup finalists struggled against resolute Iceland on Saturday, and their next rivals are full of confidence ahead of Thursday's match
Messi the greatest but Croatia will play to beat Argentina, says Dalic
The 2014 World Cup finalists struggled against resolute Iceland on Saturday, and their next rivals are full of confidence ahead of Thursday's match
Jose Iglesias chops one in the infield, then beats the throw to first to score JaCoby Jones and cut the Tigers' deficit to one run
Iglesias plates Jones in the 8th
Jose Iglesias chops one in the infield, then beats the throw to first to score JaCoby Jones and cut the Tigers' deficit to one run
Jose Iglesias chops one in the infield, then beats the throw to first to score JaCoby Jones and cut the Tigers' deficit to one run
Iglesias plates Jones in the 8th
Jose Iglesias chops one in the infield, then beats the throw to first to score JaCoby Jones and cut the Tigers' deficit to one run
Jose Iglesias chops one in the infield, then beats the throw to first to score JaCoby Jones and cut the Tigers' deficit to one run
Iglesias plates Jones in the 8th
Jose Iglesias chops one in the infield, then beats the throw to first to score JaCoby Jones and cut the Tigers' deficit to one run
Scooter Gennett belts a two-run home run into the right-field seats, tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the 6th inning
Gennett's 2-run smash
Scooter Gennett belts a two-run home run into the right-field seats, tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the 6th inning
Jeimer Candelario launches a solo home run into the left-field seats, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning
Candelario's solo dinger
Jeimer Candelario launches a solo home run into the left-field seats, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning
Jeimer Candelario launches a solo home run into the left-field seats, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning
Candelario's solo dinger
Jeimer Candelario launches a solo home run into the left-field seats, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning
Jeimer Candelario launches a solo home run into the left-field seats, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning
Candelario's solo dinger
Jeimer Candelario launches a solo home run into the left-field seats, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning
Scooter Gennett belts a two-run home run into the right-field seats, tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the 6th inning
Gennett's 2-run smash
Scooter Gennett belts a two-run home run into the right-field seats, tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the 6th inning
Scooter Gennett belts a two-run home run into the right-field seats, tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the 6th inning
Gennett's 2-run smash
Scooter Gennett belts a two-run home run into the right-field seats, tying the game at 2 in the bottom of the 6th inning
Eugenio Suarez doubles off the top of the wall in left, but the ruling is overturned and Suarez is credited with a solo homer after a review
Suarez belts homer after review
Eugenio Suarez doubles off the top of the wall in left, but the ruling is overturned and Suarez is credited with a solo homer after a review
Eugenio Suarez doubles off the top of the wall in left, but the ruling is overturned and Suarez is credited with a solo homer after a review
Suarez belts homer after review
Eugenio Suarez doubles off the top of the wall in left, but the ruling is overturned and Suarez is credited with a solo homer after a review
Eugenio Suarez doubles off the top of the wall in left, but the ruling is overturned and Suarez is credited with a solo homer after a review
Suarez belts homer after review
Eugenio Suarez doubles off the top of the wall in left, but the ruling is overturned and Suarez is credited with a solo homer after a review
Tucker Barnhart laces an RBI single into center, scoring Billy Hamilton to give the Reds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning
Barnhart's RBI single
Tucker Barnhart laces an RBI single into center, scoring Billy Hamilton to give the Reds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning
Tucker Barnhart laces an RBI single into center, scoring Billy Hamilton to give the Reds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning
Barnhart's RBI single
Tucker Barnhart laces an RBI single into center, scoring Billy Hamilton to give the Reds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning
Tucker Barnhart laces an RBI single into center, scoring Billy Hamilton to give the Reds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning
Barnhart's RBI single
Tucker Barnhart laces an RBI single into center, scoring Billy Hamilton to give the Reds a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning
Michael Fulmer strikes out Billy Hamilton on a called strike three to end the 5th inning
Fulmer fans Hamilton in the 5th
Michael Fulmer strikes out Billy Hamilton on a called strike three to end the 5th inning
Michael Fulmer strikes out Billy Hamilton on a called strike three to end the 5th inning
Fulmer fans Hamilton in the 5th
Michael Fulmer strikes out Billy Hamilton on a called strike three to end the 5th inning
Tyler Mahle strikes out Niko Goodrum swinging to end the top of the 1st inning
Mahle K's Goodrum in the 1st
Tyler Mahle strikes out Niko Goodrum swinging to end the top of the 1st inning
Tyler Mahle strikes out Niko Goodrum swinging to end the top of the 1st inning
Mahle K's Goodrum in the 1st
Tyler Mahle strikes out Niko Goodrum swinging to end the top of the 1st inning
Michael Fulmer strikes out Billy Hamilton on a called strike three to end the 5th inning
Fulmer fans Hamilton in the 5th
Michael Fulmer strikes out Billy Hamilton on a called strike three to end the 5th inning
Tyler Mahle strikes out Niko Goodrum swinging to end the top of the 1st inning
Mahle K's Goodrum in the 1st
Tyler Mahle strikes out Niko Goodrum swinging to end the top of the 1st inning
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Do the Jets have their most important piece in place for success?
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Do the Jets have their most important piece in place for success?
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Do the Jets have their most important piece in place for success?
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Do the Jets have their most important piece in place for success?
Frank Schwab dissects the New York Jets and whether or not they can turn a corner with a collection of new quarterbacks at the helm.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Fortunate Diego Costa goal sees Spain overcome Iran's stubborn resistance
Diego Costa scores only goal to break stubborn Iran defence Iran have equaliser correctly ruled out on VAR for offside Cristiano Ronaldo saves lucky Portugal to send Morocco out Luis Suarez nudges unconvincing Uruguay into second round Cesc Fabregas column: My 18-year friendship with Messi Spain were grateful for a huge slice of luck on Wednesday night as they overcame a stubborn Iran side to claim a 1-0 win. Diego Costa scored the winner after 54 minutes when he was tackled by Ramin Rezaeian, only for the ball to ricochet back off Costa's shin and into the back of the net. Iran thought they had equalised shortly after but, following a VAR intervention, Saeid Ezatolahi's bundled effort was correctly ruled out for offside. Mehdi Taremi then headed over in the closing stages as Iran were forced to abandon their ultra-defensive approach. The win takes Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal on four points, while Iran sit just below them with three points. The final group games take place on Monday, with Spain against Morocco and Iran taking on Portugal. 9:11PM Tight at the top This is what it all means for the Group B table. All to play for (unless you are Morocco)... 9:08PM History (sort of) 1-0 - Iran 0-1 Spain means that all three matches today ended in a 1-0 scoreline. The only other days in World Cup history to see three 1-0 wins in a single day were June 25th 1982 (3) and June 23rd 2010 (3). Narrow.#IRNESP#IRN#ESP#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 0 - There have been no 0-0 draws in any of the 20 games at the 2018 World Cup so far - the last time that this happened was in 1954 (no 0-0's in the 26-game tournament). Goals.#IRNESP#ESP#IRN#WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2018 9:05PM Full-time stats Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (full time) 8:58PM Analysis Spain did it. They finally broke Iran down, courtesy of a big ricochet and a goal that Costa knew very little about. Iran defended resolutely and could even have shared the points. They, correctly, had a goal disallowed and came close a couple of times late on. As it is, there is all to play for with everyone to play one more game in the group. 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Racegoers attend the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)
Break time
Racegoers attend the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)
Ryan Newman is set to make his 600th Cup start on Sunday.
Three Cup drivers will reach career start milestones at Sonoma
Ryan Newman is set to make his 600th Cup start on Sunday.
Ryan Newman is set to make his 600th Cup start on Sunday.
Three Cup drivers will reach career start milestones at Sonoma
Ryan Newman is set to make his 600th Cup start on Sunday.
How will Andy Murray react to his comeback match against Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night? According to Stan Wawrinka, who has spent the last year battling injury issues of his own, the first few days will be anything but comfortable. “I felt dead,” was Wawrinka’s assessment of his own return to the tour, which came at January’s Australian Open. At the time, a first-round win over world No. 136 Ricardas Berankis looked like an encouraging start. But his run ended quickly, as he found himself almost unable to move 48 hours later. The comparison is instructive, because if Murray keeps waking up in a similar state this week, he may decide that best-of-five-set matches at Wimbledon are more than he can handle at such an early stage. “Two days after, my body was completely off,” said Wawrinka, who went out to the unheralded Tennys Sandgren in the Australian Open’s second round. “I lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, but I couldn't really do anything. “That's mentally tough, because you have never experienced that in the past. So you need to learn from it, you need to adapt and accept it and be patient with yourself.” Andy Murray began his comeback from injury on Tuesday Credit: Getty Images Wawrinka spent 2hr 47min on court during the Berankis match, which he won in four sets. This proved to be a heavy commitment for a man who underwent two knee operations last year. For purposes of comparison, Kyrgios needed 2hr 39min to conclude his 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Murray. The advantage of coming back at a grand slam is that you have a decent chance of playing a moderate opponent in the first round, whereas this Fever-Tree Championships draw is stacked with high-quality grass-courters. But the downside is the extra physicality of the best-of-five-set format. “The difficult part, when you are injured, is to accept the process,” said Wawrinka, who lost a tight three-setter to Sam Querrey on Wednesday by a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 scoreline. “If you want to practice three hours, you cannot. You're not allowed to. It's not good for you. You have to be patient and wait weeks or months to be able to do it. “For me, it was like step by step, and the last step is to be 100 per cent physically ready and not going up and down during [matches lasting] five hours. “I think I'm close to that. But there is only one way to do it. It's to keep working out, to keep playing tournaments, keep fighting. And then you put everything back together.”
Andy Murray warned by Stan Wawrinka: 'I felt dead after my injury'
How will Andy Murray react to his comeback match against Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night? According to Stan Wawrinka, who has spent the last year battling injury issues of his own, the first few days will be anything but comfortable. “I felt dead,” was Wawrinka’s assessment of his own return to the tour, which came at January’s Australian Open. At the time, a first-round win over world No. 136 Ricardas Berankis looked like an encouraging start. But his run ended quickly, as he found himself almost unable to move 48 hours later. The comparison is instructive, because if Murray keeps waking up in a similar state this week, he may decide that best-of-five-set matches at Wimbledon are more than he can handle at such an early stage. “Two days after, my body was completely off,” said Wawrinka, who went out to the unheralded Tennys Sandgren in the Australian Open’s second round. “I lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, but I couldn't really do anything. “That's mentally tough, because you have never experienced that in the past. So you need to learn from it, you need to adapt and accept it and be patient with yourself.” Andy Murray began his comeback from injury on Tuesday Credit: Getty Images Wawrinka spent 2hr 47min on court during the Berankis match, which he won in four sets. This proved to be a heavy commitment for a man who underwent two knee operations last year. For purposes of comparison, Kyrgios needed 2hr 39min to conclude his 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Murray. The advantage of coming back at a grand slam is that you have a decent chance of playing a moderate opponent in the first round, whereas this Fever-Tree Championships draw is stacked with high-quality grass-courters. But the downside is the extra physicality of the best-of-five-set format. “The difficult part, when you are injured, is to accept the process,” said Wawrinka, who lost a tight three-setter to Sam Querrey on Wednesday by a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 scoreline. “If you want to practice three hours, you cannot. You're not allowed to. It's not good for you. You have to be patient and wait weeks or months to be able to do it. “For me, it was like step by step, and the last step is to be 100 per cent physically ready and not going up and down during [matches lasting] five hours. “I think I'm close to that. But there is only one way to do it. It's to keep working out, to keep playing tournaments, keep fighting. And then you put everything back together.”
How will Andy Murray react to his comeback match against Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night? According to Stan Wawrinka, who has spent the last year battling injury issues of his own, the first few days will be anything but comfortable. “I felt dead,” was Wawrinka’s assessment of his own return to the tour, which came at January’s Australian Open. At the time, a first-round win over world No. 136 Ricardas Berankis looked like an encouraging start. But his run ended quickly, as he found himself almost unable to move 48 hours later. The comparison is instructive, because if Murray keeps waking up in a similar state this week, he may decide that best-of-five-set matches at Wimbledon are more than he can handle at such an early stage. “Two days after, my body was completely off,” said Wawrinka, who went out to the unheralded Tennys Sandgren in the Australian Open’s second round. “I lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, but I couldn't really do anything. “That's mentally tough, because you have never experienced that in the past. So you need to learn from it, you need to adapt and accept it and be patient with yourself.” Andy Murray began his comeback from injury on Tuesday Credit: Getty Images Wawrinka spent 2hr 47min on court during the Berankis match, which he won in four sets. This proved to be a heavy commitment for a man who underwent two knee operations last year. For purposes of comparison, Kyrgios needed 2hr 39min to conclude his 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Murray. The advantage of coming back at a grand slam is that you have a decent chance of playing a moderate opponent in the first round, whereas this Fever-Tree Championships draw is stacked with high-quality grass-courters. But the downside is the extra physicality of the best-of-five-set format. “The difficult part, when you are injured, is to accept the process,” said Wawrinka, who lost a tight three-setter to Sam Querrey on Wednesday by a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 scoreline. “If you want to practice three hours, you cannot. You're not allowed to. It's not good for you. You have to be patient and wait weeks or months to be able to do it. “For me, it was like step by step, and the last step is to be 100 per cent physically ready and not going up and down during [matches lasting] five hours. “I think I'm close to that. But there is only one way to do it. It's to keep working out, to keep playing tournaments, keep fighting. And then you put everything back together.”
Andy Murray warned by Stan Wawrinka: 'I felt dead after my injury'
How will Andy Murray react to his comeback match against Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night? According to Stan Wawrinka, who has spent the last year battling injury issues of his own, the first few days will be anything but comfortable. “I felt dead,” was Wawrinka’s assessment of his own return to the tour, which came at January’s Australian Open. At the time, a first-round win over world No. 136 Ricardas Berankis looked like an encouraging start. But his run ended quickly, as he found himself almost unable to move 48 hours later. The comparison is instructive, because if Murray keeps waking up in a similar state this week, he may decide that best-of-five-set matches at Wimbledon are more than he can handle at such an early stage. “Two days after, my body was completely off,” said Wawrinka, who went out to the unheralded Tennys Sandgren in the Australian Open’s second round. “I lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, but I couldn't really do anything. “That's mentally tough, because you have never experienced that in the past. So you need to learn from it, you need to adapt and accept it and be patient with yourself.” Andy Murray began his comeback from injury on Tuesday Credit: Getty Images Wawrinka spent 2hr 47min on court during the Berankis match, which he won in four sets. This proved to be a heavy commitment for a man who underwent two knee operations last year. For purposes of comparison, Kyrgios needed 2hr 39min to conclude his 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Murray. The advantage of coming back at a grand slam is that you have a decent chance of playing a moderate opponent in the first round, whereas this Fever-Tree Championships draw is stacked with high-quality grass-courters. But the downside is the extra physicality of the best-of-five-set format. “The difficult part, when you are injured, is to accept the process,” said Wawrinka, who lost a tight three-setter to Sam Querrey on Wednesday by a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 scoreline. “If you want to practice three hours, you cannot. You're not allowed to. It's not good for you. You have to be patient and wait weeks or months to be able to do it. “For me, it was like step by step, and the last step is to be 100 per cent physically ready and not going up and down during [matches lasting] five hours. “I think I'm close to that. But there is only one way to do it. It's to keep working out, to keep playing tournaments, keep fighting. And then you put everything back together.”
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
2020 Skoda Octavia Test Mule Spied On The Road
Take a very early look at the next-gen Octavia
Giants reliever Mark Melancon sides with teammate Hunter Strickland, saying that Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson "disrespected the game" celebrating a game-tying single on Monday.
Mark Melancon thinks Lewis Brinson “disrespected the game”
Giants reliever Mark Melancon sides with teammate Hunter Strickland, saying that Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson "disrespected the game" celebrating a game-tying single on Monday.
Giants reliever Mark Melancon sides with teammate Hunter Strickland, saying that Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson "disrespected the game" celebrating a game-tying single on Monday.
Mark Melancon thinks Lewis Brinson “disrespected the game”
Giants reliever Mark Melancon sides with teammate Hunter Strickland, saying that Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson "disrespected the game" celebrating a game-tying single on Monday.
Spain's Gerard Pique, center, jumps for a header during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Spain's Gerard Pique, center, jumps for a header during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
France's Antoine Griezmann runs on the field during a training session at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Glebovets, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
France's Antoine Griezmann runs on the field during a training session at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Glebovets, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Iran's Sardar Azmoun lies flat out in the ground after the end of the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Spain won the game 1-0. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Iran's Sardar Azmoun lies flat out in the ground after the end of the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Spain won the game 1-0. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Australia's Tim Cahill, right, and Daniel Arzani talk during Australia's official training for the group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Australia's Tim Cahill, right, and Daniel Arzani talk during Australia's official training for the group C match between France and Australia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Saudi Arabia's Hussain Almoqahwi , bottom and Uruguay's Diego Godin, top, challenge for the ball during the group A match between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Saudi Arabia's Hussain Almoqahwi , bottom and Uruguay's Diego Godin, top, challenge for the ball during the group A match between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Lionel Messi arrives for a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Lionel Messi arrives for a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
England head coach Gareth Southgate celebrates his team's 2-1 win at the end of the group G match between Tunisia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
England head coach Gareth Southgate celebrates his team's 2-1 win at the end of the group G match between Tunisia and England at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Spain's Diego Costa, right, celebrates with Spain's Isco his side's first goal during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Spain's Diego Costa, right, celebrates with Spain's Isco his side's first goal during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Iceland's Hordur Magnusson talks to fans after the group D match between Argentina and Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Victor Caivano)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Iceland's Hordur Magnusson talks to fans after the group D match between Argentina and Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Victor Caivano)
England head coach Gareth Southgate attends official training of his team at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
England head coach Gareth Southgate attends official training of his team at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Spain's Diego Costa, right, celebrate after scoring his side's opening goal with Spain's Isco during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Spain's Diego Costa, right, celebrate after scoring his side's opening goal with Spain's Isco during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand, center, looks as Iran's Ehsan Haji Safi collects the ball after Spain's Diego Costa scored the opening goal during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand, center, looks as Iran's Ehsan Haji Safi collects the ball after Spain's Diego Costa scored the opening goal during the group B match between Iran and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the group A match against Saudi Arabia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the group A match against Saudi Arabia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Croatia's Ivan Rakitic attends a press conference on the eve of the group D match between Croatia and Argentina in the Nizhny Novgorod stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Croatia's Ivan Rakitic attends a press conference on the eve of the group D match between Croatia and Argentina in the Nizhny Novgorod stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, center, reacts during the group B match between Portugal and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
The Latest: Mexico, Serbia fined for discrimination by fans
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, center, reacts during the group B match between Portugal and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
As difficult as it might be, the Senators should give up the No. 4 overall pick.
Why Senators should give Avalanche their first pick this year
As difficult as it might be, the Senators should give up the No. 4 overall pick.
As difficult as it might be, the Senators should give up the No. 4 overall pick.
Why Senators should give Avalanche their first pick this year
As difficult as it might be, the Senators should give up the No. 4 overall pick.
England football fans have caused outrage by singing an anti-Semitic song and making Nazi salutes in a Russian pub before England’s World Cup match in Volgograd, where more than a million Soviet soldiers died to stop the German blitzkrieg. In a video that was circulating on social media yesterday, supporters are singing a racially offensive song about Tottenham Hotspur in the Galereya Pub in Volgograd. An employee at the pub told The Daily Telegraph that the incident had occurred on Monday before England beat Tunisia 2-1. Three men are seen throwing Nazi salutes during the anti-Semitic song, which makes reference to Hitler and Auschwitz, and has been associated with some Chelsea supporters in the past. The incident threatens to cause tensions between countries during a World Cup that has otherwise been overwhelmingly friendly. Russia World Cup in pictures: Best photos of teams, games and players British police, who previously warned fans not to sing songs or wave flags at “sensitive” sites in Volgograd, said they were “making swift inquiries to identify those involved and will seek to take all appropriate action against them”. An FA spokesman said: “We strongly condemn the actions of the people in this video. We are working with the relevant authorities, including the UK Police investigations team, who are making inquiries to identify the individuals involved and take appropriate action. “The disgraceful conduct of the individuals in this video does not represent the values of the majority of English football fans supporting the team in Russia.” Actions meant to incite hatred based on race or religion can be punished with up to five years in prison, according to the Russian criminal code. While the Russian authorities have installed stadium observers to catch discriminatory behaviour, African immigrants previously told The Telegraph that racism in the stands remains a problem. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Police investigating England fans making Nazi-salutes at World Cup
England football fans have caused outrage by singing an anti-Semitic song and making Nazi salutes in a Russian pub before England’s World Cup match in Volgograd, where more than a million Soviet soldiers died to stop the German blitzkrieg. In a video that was circulating on social media yesterday, supporters are singing a racially offensive song about Tottenham Hotspur in the Galereya Pub in Volgograd. An employee at the pub told The Daily Telegraph that the incident had occurred on Monday before England beat Tunisia 2-1. Three men are seen throwing Nazi salutes during the anti-Semitic song, which makes reference to Hitler and Auschwitz, and has been associated with some Chelsea supporters in the past. The incident threatens to cause tensions between countries during a World Cup that has otherwise been overwhelmingly friendly. Russia World Cup in pictures: Best photos of teams, games and players British police, who previously warned fans not to sing songs or wave flags at “sensitive” sites in Volgograd, said they were “making swift inquiries to identify those involved and will seek to take all appropriate action against them”. An FA spokesman said: “We strongly condemn the actions of the people in this video. We are working with the relevant authorities, including the UK Police investigations team, who are making inquiries to identify the individuals involved and take appropriate action. “The disgraceful conduct of the individuals in this video does not represent the values of the majority of English football fans supporting the team in Russia.” Actions meant to incite hatred based on race or religion can be punished with up to five years in prison, according to the Russian criminal code. While the Russian authorities have installed stadium observers to catch discriminatory behaviour, African immigrants previously told The Telegraph that racism in the stands remains a problem. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
El delantero brasileño Neymar en un entrenamiento en Sochi, Rusia, jun 19, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
El delantero brasileño Neymar en un entrenamiento en Sochi, Rusia
El delantero brasileño Neymar en un entrenamiento en Sochi, Rusia, jun 19, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Los jugadores de la selección española de fútbol festejan el gol de su compañero Diego Costa (19) frente a Irán en su duelo por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia, jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley
Los jugadores de la selección española de fútbol festejan el gol de su compañero Diego Costa (19) frente a Irán en su duelo por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia
Los jugadores de la selección española de fútbol festejan el gol de su compañero Diego Costa (19) frente a Irán en su duelo por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia, jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal REUTERS/Jorge Silva
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates with team mates after scoring their first goal REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Karim Ansarifard reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Jorge Silva
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Karim Ansarifard reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring a goal that is later disallowed following a VAR review REUTERS/John Sibley
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring a goal that is later disallowed following a VAR review REUTERS/John Sibley
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Karim Ansarifard in action with Spain's Gerard Pique REUTERS/John Sibley
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Karim Ansarifard in action with Spain's Gerard Pique REUTERS/John Sibley
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa and Gerard Pique in action with Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi on the goal line REUTERS/Sergio Perez
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa and Gerard Pique in action with Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi on the goal line REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Toru Hanai
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates REUTERS/Toru Hanai
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Ramin Rezaeian and Spain coach Fernando Hierro speak with a match official REUTERS/John Sibley
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Ramin Rezaeian and Spain coach Fernando Hierro speak with a match official REUTERS/John Sibley
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring their first goal before it was disallowed after a VAR review REUTERS/Toru Hanai
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring their first goal before it was disallowed after a VAR review REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Ehsan Hajsafi and Karim Ansarifard react REUTERS/Toru Hanai
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Ehsan Hajsafi and Karim Ansarifard react REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates before it was disallowed after a VAR review REUTERS/Toru Hanai
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates before it was disallowed after a VAR review REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Toru Hanai
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Spain's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Ramin Rezaeian in action with Spain's Andres Iniesta REUTERS/Jorge Silva
World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain
Soccer Football - World Cup - Group B - Iran vs Spain - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 20, 2018 Iran's Ramin Rezaeian in action with Spain's Andres Iniesta REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Los jugadores de la selección española de fútbol celebran el gol de su compañero Diego Costa frente a Irán en su duelo por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia , jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Los jugadores de la selección española de fútbol celebran el gol de su compañero Diego Costa frente a Irán en su duelo por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia
Los jugadores de la selección española de fútbol celebran el gol de su compañero Diego Costa frente a Irán en su duelo por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia , jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
El delantero español Diego Costa (a la derecha en la imagen) festeja tras anotar un gol frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia , jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
El delantero español Diego Costa (a la derecha en la imagen) festeja tras anotar un gol frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia
El delantero español Diego Costa (a la derecha en la imagen) festeja tras anotar un gol frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia , jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
El ariete de la selección española de fútbol Diego Costa celebra tras anotar frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia, jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
El ariete de la selección española de fútbol Diego Costa celebra tras anotar frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia
El ariete de la selección española de fútbol Diego Costa celebra tras anotar frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia, jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
Pretemporada Chivas rumbo al Apertura 2018: Fechas, lugares y equipos a enfrentar
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
Pretemporada Chivas rumbo al Apertura 2018: Fechas, lugares y equipos a enfrentar
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
Pretemporada Chivas rumbo al Apertura 2018: Fechas, lugares y equipos a enfrentar
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
Pretemporada Chivas rumbo al Apertura 2018: Fechas, lugares y equipos a enfrentar
El Rebaño debe trabajar duro para dejar atrás el pésimo desempeño mostrado durante la última temporada en la Liga MX.
Real Madrid head coach Pablo Laso gives instructions to Real Madrid's Luka Doncic during their Final Four Euroleague final basketball match between Real Madrid and Fenerbahce in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Already a pro, Doncic set to join college stars in NBA draft
Real Madrid head coach Pablo Laso gives instructions to Real Madrid's Luka Doncic during their Final Four Euroleague final basketball match between Real Madrid and Fenerbahce in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
El delantero de la selección española de fútbol Diego Costa festeja tras convertir frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia , jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
El delantero de la selección española de fútbol Diego Costa festeja tras convertir frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia
El delantero de la selección española de fútbol Diego Costa festeja tras convertir frente a Irán en su encuentro por el grupo B del Mundial de la FIFA en Kazán, Rusia , jun 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Ayesha Curry, the entrepreneurial wife of Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, is expanding her barbecue restaurant business to Houston, and let’s just say Rockets fans aren’t licking their chops.
Rockets fans inundate Ayesha Curry's restaurant in Houston with negative Yelp reviews
Ayesha Curry, the entrepreneurial wife of Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, is expanding her barbecue restaurant business to Houston, and let’s just say Rockets fans aren’t licking their chops.
Ayesha Curry, the entrepreneurial wife of Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, is expanding her barbecue restaurant business to Houston, and let’s just say Rockets fans aren’t licking their chops.
Rockets fans inundate Ayesha Curry's restaurant in Houston with negative Yelp reviews
Ayesha Curry, the entrepreneurial wife of Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, is expanding her barbecue restaurant business to Houston, and let’s just say Rockets fans aren’t licking their chops.
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Sam Querrey of the USA during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Sam Querrey of the USA during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Sam Querrey of the USA during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Sam Querrey of the USA during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Sam Querrey of the USA during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Sam Querrey of the USA during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg plays a return to Marin Cilic of Croatia during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg plays a return to Marin Cilic of Croatia during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Sam Querrey of the USA celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Sam Querrey of the USA celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Sam Querrey of the USA plays a return to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Sam Querrey of the USA plays a return to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Sam Querrey of the USA celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Sam Querrey of the USA celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning his singles tennis match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Marin Cilic of Croatia plays a return to Gilles Muller of Luxembourg during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Cilic beats Muller to set up quarterfinal against Querrey
Marin Cilic of Croatia plays a return to Gilles Muller of Luxembourg during their singles tennis match at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Spain have moved level on points with Portugal at the summit of Group B after edging past a spirited Iran side at the Kazan Arena.
Iran 0 Spain 1: Costa goal breaks stubborn resistance
Spain have moved level on points with Portugal at the summit of Group B after edging past a spirited Iran side at the Kazan Arena.
Diego Costa scored Spain's goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points.
Spain gets win after Iran loses equalizer to VAR
Diego Costa scored Spain's goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points.
Diego Costa scored Spain's goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points.
Spain gets win after Iran loses equalizer to VAR
Diego Costa scored Spain's goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points.
Los lusos y "La Roja" están empatados a todo en el Grupo B y el factor disciplinario seriviría para desempatar.
Fair Play, el factor clave para España por el primer puesto ante Portugal
Los lusos y "La Roja" están empatados a todo en el Grupo B y el factor disciplinario seriviría para desempatar.
 8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Iran vs Spain, World Cup 2018: live score and latest updates
8:54PM Full time Iran 0 Spain 1 8:54PM 90+3 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A long lump fails to find an Iranian player. And again. They are trying, without having anything fall for them. Here comes a long throw, though... Mohammadi will fling the ball into the Spain box. He gives it a kiss, then does a somersault and bails out! What on earth was that?!? His second attempt is to a player nearby instead and the move peters out. 8:51PM 90+2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Ebrahimi is shown yellow for a foul on Rodrigo and that means Spain have a free-kick about 25 yards out on the left flank. Isco takes, but it fails to beat the first Iranian defender. Plenty of time was wasted, though. 8:49PM 90 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain are keeping possession smartly now, with Iran run-ragged from all of their defensive work earlier in the match. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played. 8:48PM 88 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Costa's night is up, to be replaced by the Valencia striker Rodrigo. 8:46PM 87 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Back to front, front to back from Spain. That will take up another minute. Almost there. Credit: getty images 8:44PM 85 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain just need to take the sting out of this now. Or score again. One of those two things, you know. 8:42PM 83 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 That is an enormous chance for Iran!!!! Amiri nutmegs Pique on the left and delivers a sublime cross to Taremi at the far post. He rises to meet the ball inside the six-yard box and has a whole heap of goal to aim at, but his header flies over the bar. So close. So very close. 8:41PM 81 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Sexy stuff from Isco to beat a smattering of Iran players before playing and receiving a one-two to drive into the penalty area where he is put on his backside by a crunching tackle. 8:39PM 79 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Amiri is booked for a rash challenge on Carvajal. Then Vazquez heads off to be replaced by Asensio. 8:36PM 77 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Spain have a free-kick here in a great position 20 yards from goal and to the right. Surely this is perfect for the left foot of Silva... nope, Isco has a go with his right peg and the wall jump to keep it out. 8:35PM 75 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 What a ball from the substitute Mohammadi, who crosses wonderfully from the left flank, but it sails about two yards in front of the onrushing Taremi and out for a goal kick. They are certainly giving it some. 8:30PM 71 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A couple of changes. Mohammadi is on in place of the injured Safi, while Koke replaces the ageing Iniesta. 8:30PM 70 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 A touch of magic down the left from Iniesta, whose close control is superb and Spain win a corner. I'm not sure how describe what then happens... The ball is worked low to the near post and then back to Ramos whose shot it blocked on the line. From that moment about half a dozen Iranian players fling themselves on top of the ball and Spain cannot hack it over the line. The ultimate bundle. Brilliant Sunday League football. Heartening stuff. Great to see #IRNESP taking a lead from Chesterfield and Bury.#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/eAkDxMM5Fj— Crap 90s Football (@Crap90sFootball) June 20, 2018 8:26PM 67 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's almost like a normal football match now. You know, when both sides try to score. All sorts of space all over the pitch. 8:24PM 65 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Nothing the Iranian players can really argue about there. Replays showed Ezatolahi was definitely offisde. This game is so much more open now. 8:23PM GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! Ezatolahi was inches offside when the cross was swung in! Oh deary me. Wow. 8:22PM VAR review Still we wait to hear if it offside... 8:22PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Iran have a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right here. Can they conjure something? YES THEY CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cross comes in, there is an almighty scramble and then Ezatolahi bundles into the net. But they are checking VAR for offside... 8:19PM 60 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Iran are looking to build attacking moves now, throwing more bodies forward and it is Taremi who rises highest to meet a cross from the right. He cannot get his header on target though and it trickles past the far post. 8:18PM 58 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 It's immediately apparent that the game is more open since that goal. Iran cannot afford to just sit back as they have been up until now. The result may well be more goals. 8:15PM 56 mins - Iran 0 Spain 1 Well, well, well. What does that mean for Iran's tactics now? Costa scores his 3rd of the tournament. Only a great striker can finish like that. ��— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 20, 2018 8:14PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL Finally Spain find a way through. Iniesta plays in Costa, who attempts to turn inside the Iran penalty area. Rezaeian comes across to make the tackle, but the ball ricochets straight into Costa's shin and then the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if Costa knew anything about that. Iran 0 - 1 Spain (Diego Costa, 54 min) 8:13PM 53 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh my word! Everyone thought Iran had just scored!!!! A long throw is headed to Ansarifard who absolutely drills the ball towards the Spain goal from just inside the penalty area. De Gea is stood helpless and watching as the ball flies inches wide of the near post and into the side-netting. 8:11PM 52 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It looks like Spain have sent their wingers a lot wider in this half in an attempt to stretch the game across the pitch. And it looks to be having a bit more success, with greater space to work a move from. This time it comes from the right and the ball is pulled back to Isco, who fires over the bar. 8:09PM 50 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close again for Spain as Pique meets a corner and nods towards goal, but he cannot get enough on it and the man on the line hacks it away. The ball is then worked to Busquets who lets fly from 25 yards. Beiranvand dives to his left and palms it up, before then flapping it away with Vazquez advancing on him. 8:08PM 48 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 As was entirely predictable, both sides have instantly slotted into their same positions as the first half. Not sure if it's some sort of cry for help, but Spain appear to be passing themselves a picture of Vicente del Bosque's face pic.twitter.com/oyesO5RqQV— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 8:06PM 47 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Spanish players were in the referee's ear quite a lot in the tunnel before they came out. I suspect they might have been moaning about the Iranian players' time-wasting and, how to put this neatly, erm... gamesmanship at times. I'll be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with their behaviour in the first half. But maybe that's just me. 8:05PM Kick-off The second half begins. 8:03PM What a man Isco. My man �� pic.twitter.com/uO1UlymeOW— R•Madrid Pics �� (@RM_Pictures) June 20, 2018 8:03PM Half-time stats These are brilliant: Iran vs Spain shots on goal Iran vs Spain Average touch positions (half time) 7:50PM Analysis This is as one-sided a game as you will ever see. It's total attack against defence, but Iran have been superb. If they hold out for 90 minutes it will be a phenomenal defensive performance. Every time a Spanish player has the ball in the final third, there is a man in red snapping at his heels or throwing his body in front of him. And Beiranvand has barely been troubled in goal. Strange. Very strange. But fascinating. 7:48PM Half time Iran 0 Spain 0 - Well, somehow Iran have survived a half and they are treated to a breather. 7:47PM 45+1 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Close for Spain as Silva shoots from the edge of the box, but yet another Iran defender flings himself at the ball and deflects it wide for a corner that comes to nothing. 7:45PM 45 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Three minutes of stoppage time to be played. 7:44PM 44 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran are now just thumping the ball upfield and waiting for the next wave of attack. And again. And again. And again. There is zero attempt to retain possession. 7:42PM 42 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 For all the magicians in the Spanish midfield, they just cannot find a way through. Isco does well to cross low from the left and pick out Iniesta, but the (soon to be) Barcelona man is pounced upon in a flash. I can imagine Spain fans are starting to get very frustrated. 7:40PM 40 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 What's happened here? Iran's keeper Beiranvard has gone down and reckons there was some sort of stamp from Costa, who - you probably don't need me to say - is vociferously protesting his innocence. Replays show it is a lot of fuss over nothing. Costa's foot possibly connected with Beiranvard's toes as the keeper picked up the ball, but there wasn't anything in it. 7:37PM 37 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Now Iran have a corner! Pique was forced to head an incoming cross behind his own goal. Ansarifard will take the corner, but it is headed easily away. 7:35PM 35 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Iran have a throw-in deep inside the Spanish half and the crowd have gone berserk! Safi will attempt the long throw into the box, but the chance is cleared in a flash. 7:33PM 33 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iranians have almost stopped even bothering to try and venture in the Spain half. They are exerting so much energy just keeping the opposition out. Surely this cannot last 90 minutes. They are playing as though this is the 88th minute of a match, not the 33rd. 7:30PM 30 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A gorgeous one-two between Iniesta and Isco finally sees Spain work their way into the Iranian penalty area, but Iniesta's shot is brilliantly blocked on its way to goal. That was a touch of magic from Isco to find his team-mate. The corner falls to Silva, but he cannot keep his shot down to test the keeper. 7:28PM 28 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 These average touch positions tell a story. Only three outfield players in the Spanish half! Average touch positions (25 min) 7:26PM 26 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's total one-way traffic, but it's been quite an engrossing start to this match. A bruising start as well, with tackles flying in all over the place. 7:24PM 24 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 ... Silva will be the man to take with his left foot. He strikes it well, but straight into the midriff of Beiranvard, via a deflection off the wall. 7:24PM 23 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 And Spain earn another free-kick marginally closer to goal. I suspect one of Spain's players with greater finesse will take this one, rather than Ramos... 7:22PM 22 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 "It's an attack v defence training session," says Clive Tyldesley. "But they know what they are doing," adds Glenn Hoddle, of Iran's defence. Spain have earned a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal, though, and Ramos looks as though he fancies it. But his shot fails to beat the wall. 7:20PM 20 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The Iran tactic is quite clear: defend, defend, defend, defend, and then hope to snaffle something on the break. And the defending part is working a treat so far. They look so tightly drilled, but can they keep it up for 90 minutes? 7:19PM 19 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Just a hint of space opens up for Silva, which allows the Manchester City man to have a crack from outside the penalty area, but it cracks into a red-shirted defender and away to safety. Iran seem to have a line of six men in defence when Spain have the ball. 7:18PM 17 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The racket whenever an Iranian player gets on the ball is very impressive. They must have a hell of a lot of fans inside the stadium. And they have something to cheer here as Taremi receives the ball behind the Spanish defence and everyone seems to stop while waiting for an offside flag to be raised. It never comes though, so Taremi hares forward and crosses into the penalty area, but there is no one to get on the end of it. 7:15PM 15 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Spain are struggling slightly at the moment to penetrate this Iranian team, which has been set up tightly with men behind the ball. 7:13PM 13 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 It's pretty niggly out there at the moment. Both sides committing plenty of fouls, before arguing profusely with the referee. All very tiresome. 7:13PM 12 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 A little bit of breaking news from the England camp (and this is not a joke): Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder while out running!!!!!!! 7:10PM 10 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 This could be dangerous. Iran concede a free-kick about 10 yards in from the left and 10 yards from the penalty area. Isco will be the man to whip it in... no he won't, the left-footed Alba crosses instead, the ball flicks off Pique's head and out for a throw on the other side of the pitch. 7:08PM 8 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 The first (of what will presumably be many) talking to of the evening for Ramos after a foul near the middle of the pitch. Not sure there was anything in it as the two men went up for a header together. 7:06PM 6 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Oh what have we here? Here come the Iranians as Azmoun gets in behind the Spain defence and finds Amiri, who darts to the byline and is bundled over to win a free-kick by the corner flag. Can they produce something from this? No. The cross is headed clear by Pique. 7:04PM 4 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Early impressions: Spain are going to see a lot of the ball during this match. Iran are going to sit back and be as physical as possible. Beiranvand is called into action for the first time to punch a loopy cross into the night before Carvajal slashes a long-range shot a long way high and wide. 7:02PM 2 mins - Iran 0 Spain 0 Huge noise from the Iranian contingent inside the stadium. Quite a din in Kazan. 7:00PM Kick off Spain, in white, get this match underway. Iran in red. let's go. 6:53PM Ready for action The players are out and it's national anthem time. 6:45PM Always prepared Bit excessive. Then again, if it rains and he hadn't laminated them, we'd be ripping into him pic.twitter.com/yCB7vFngP0— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 20, 2018 6:40PM Here's the scene in Kazan Credit: getty images Credit: reuters 6:31PM My mate Messi Some more pre-reading for you comes in the form of the latest column from our new Telegraph Sport columnist Cesc Fabregas. This one is entitled: Lionel Messi and me - my 18-year friendship with the world's greatest player Here's an extract: People want to put Leo up against Cristiano and of course they both need each other to make themselves better, but we are talking about different teams, different groups, different moments. I think they just respect each other and get on with it. It’s been going on too long for either of them to get annoyed by it. When I went to Arsenal, we lost a little bit of contact, but when I re-signed for Barcelona the friendship grew very quickly again and we had a great connection on the pitch, especially in my first season back. In the first seven games, he had nine goals and I had five, and we were both making assists for each other. It was incredible. Credit: afp 6:20PM Ins and outs So, two changes from the Spain side who drew with Portugal. Nacho is dropped after his wonder-goal and replaced by Dani Carvajal, while Lucas Vazquez comes in for Koke. Iran have tinkered slightly more with Majid Hosseini, Saeid Ezatolahi and Mehdi Taremi all brought into the side. 6:05PM The teams are in TEAM NEWS! We have the Starting XIs for #IRN and #ESP#IRNESPpic.twitter.com/pZQvmZ0B3V— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 20, 2018 5:54PM Qualifiers Some news from Group A is that it's all been decided just two games in. Uruguay have just beaten Saudi Arabia 1-0, which means both Russia and Uruguay are through to the last-16. Those two sides face each other next Monday to see who tops the group. 5:48PM Open to all While we await the team news, I recommend reading this piece by our man Jim White on the ground in Kazan: How the World Cup is exposing Iranian restrictions on women: 'I was sent to jail for trying to go to a game in Tehran' Here's an extract: For Kiana and Paria, two twenty-something women from Iran, this World Cup has been a liberating experience. For a start, the two of them have been able to do something they never have been able to do in their own country: go to a football match. In fact, earlier this year, when Paria tried to attend a game in her home city she was arrested. The charge was offending public decency. “I love sport, I love football and in Iran women can’t go to watch,” she explains. “One night I try. I go to the game and I went to jail.” It happened in March. A rumour was circulating that the Iranian government had relaxed the strict rules preventing women from showing their enthusiasm for the sport. “We had heard it was OK,” says Paria. “We thought they were allowing us.” So she and her boyfriend headed off to see the Tehran derby between Persepolis and Esteghlal. But it was not OK, things had not changed. Along with 29 other women who had mistakenly smelled a whiff of liberalisation in the wind, the moment she tried to go through the turnstiles, Paria was arrested and taken to the police station. Her crime? Being a woman in an all-male environment. The World Cup has given Iran fans Paria (right) and Kiana the opportunity to attend their first football match without the risk of arrest 5:30PM Favourites vs Table Toppers No one would have predicted that in a group featuring Spain, Portugal and Morocco, it would be Iran who ended the first round of games top of the table. But that is exactly where Carlos Queiroz's side found themselves when they woke up this morning. In many senses their 1-0 victory over Morocco was somewhat fortunate, gifted to them courtesy of a 95th-minute Aziz Bouhaddouz own-goal. But such a simple reading of that triumph is to do Iran a disservice. Yes, Morocco dominated possession, but Iran's defence held tight throughout, offering the opposition few clear-cut chances. As for Iran's attacking threat at the other end of the pitch... well, yes, there wasn't much to say about that. And, in all honesty, there shouldn't be much tonight either. For all their table-topping exploits, Iran are facing a significant step up here against a Spanish side who impressed many people despite only drawing their opening encounter with Portugal. After the crazy build-up that saw them sack their head coach barely 48 hours before kick-off, the Spaniards showed plenty of class and would have won with relative ease were it not for the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo (and a couple of glaring errors). With Germany losing, Brazil and Argentina drawing, and France looking highly unconvincing in victory over Australia, Spain's draw only seemed to strengthen their hopes of winning this tournament. At their best, no other nation in the world can come close to the beauty of their football and, providing they are over any opening match jitters, this Iranian side are not expected to trouble them much. Indeed, you can get 20/1 on Queiroz's lads emerging victorious tonight. Whether the reality is so straightforward will be known in a few hours. I have predicted a 2-0 win to Spain, although I am firmly entrenched near the bottom of our Team Telegraph World Cup prediction competition so I am not a man to be trusted. For what it's worth: Iran are guaranteed a place in the last-16 if they win tonight.
Saudi football fans wearing paraphernalia with their national team's colours dance outside a fan tent in the Red Sea coastal resort of Jeddah ahead of Saudi Arabia's World Cup match against Uruguay (AFP Photo/Amer HILABI)
Going big
Saudi football fans wearing paraphernalia with their national team's colours dance outside a fan tent in the Red Sea coastal resort of Jeddah ahead of Saudi Arabia's World Cup match against Uruguay (AFP Photo/Amer HILABI)
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Dexter Lawrence highlights
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Dexter Lawrence highlights
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Dexter Lawrence highlights
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Dexter Lawrence highlights
Check out highlights of Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett celebrates with Scott Schebler (43) after hitting a two-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett celebrates with Scott Schebler (43) after hitting a two-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Detroit Tigers' Jeimer Candelario (46) runs the bases past Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (3) after hitting a solo home run off starting pitcher Tyler Mahle in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Detroit Tigers' Jeimer Candelario (46) runs the bases past Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (3) after hitting a solo home run off starting pitcher Tyler Mahle in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, left, tags out Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) on a steal attempt in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, left, tags out Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) on a steal attempt in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett hits a two-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett hits a two-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Reds' Eugenio Suarez runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Cincinnati Reds' Eugenio Suarez runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Odubel Herrera homers in his fourth straight game as he belts a mammoth solo homer to right, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the 7th
Herrera's go-ahead HR in the 7th
Odubel Herrera homers in his fourth straight game as he belts a mammoth solo homer to right, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the 7th
Odubel Herrera homers in his fourth straight game as he belts a mammoth solo homer to right, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the 7th
Herrera's go-ahead HR in the 7th
Odubel Herrera homers in his fourth straight game as he belts a mammoth solo homer to right, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the 7th
Odubel Herrera homers in his fourth straight game as he belts a mammoth solo homer to right, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the 7th
Herrera's go-ahead HR in the 7th
Odubel Herrera homers in his fourth straight game as he belts a mammoth solo homer to right, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the 7th
An Iran fan attends the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and Spain at the Kazan Arena in Kazan (AFP Photo/Roman Kruchinin)
Having fun
An Iran fan attends the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and Spain at the Kazan Arena in Kazan (AFP Photo/Roman Kruchinin)
Egypt's Mohamed Salah leaves the pitch without going to his fans, disappointed after losing the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
After only 2 matches, Egypt eliminated from World Cup
Egypt's Mohamed Salah leaves the pitch without going to his fans, disappointed after losing the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Egypt head coach Hector Cuper shouts during the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
After only 2 matches, Egypt eliminated from World Cup
Egypt head coach Hector Cuper shouts during the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, right, and Egypt head coach Hector Cuper, center, gesture during the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
After only 2 matches, Egypt eliminated from World Cup
Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, right, and Egypt head coach Hector Cuper, center, gesture during the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Egypt's Mohamed Salah kisses the ball before scoring his sides first goal from a penalty kick during the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
After only 2 matches, Egypt eliminated from World Cup
Egypt's Mohamed Salah kisses the ball before scoring his sides first goal from a penalty kick during the group A match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Aledmys Diaz lifts a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Russell Martin to cross the dish and double the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2
Diaz's sacrifice fly
Aledmys Diaz lifts a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Russell Martin to cross the dish and double the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2
Aledmys Diaz lifts a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Russell Martin to cross the dish and double the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2
Diaz's sacrifice fly
Aledmys Diaz lifts a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Russell Martin to cross the dish and double the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2
Aledmys Diaz lifts a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Russell Martin to cross the dish and double the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2
Diaz's sacrifice fly
Aledmys Diaz lifts a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Russell Martin to cross the dish and double the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2
Ender Inciarte grounds a pitch to right that just gets past Devon Travis at second for an RBI single, cutting the Braves' deficit to one run
Inciarte's RBI single in the 9th
Ender Inciarte grounds a pitch to right that just gets past Devon Travis at second for an RBI single, cutting the Braves' deficit to one run
Ender Inciarte grounds a pitch to right that just gets past Devon Travis at second for an RBI single, cutting the Braves' deficit to one run
Inciarte's RBI single in the 9th
Ender Inciarte grounds a pitch to right that just gets past Devon Travis at second for an RBI single, cutting the Braves' deficit to one run
Fernando Santos joked that Cristiano Ronaldo is in such good form because of his own coaching skills (AFP Photo/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)
Fernando Santos joked that Cristiano Ronaldo is in such good form because of his own coaching skills
Fernando Santos joked that Cristiano Ronaldo is in such good form because of his own coaching skills (AFP Photo/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)
Ender Inciarte grounds a pitch to right that just gets past Devon Travis at second for an RBI single, cutting the Braves' deficit to one run
Inciarte's RBI single in the 9th
Ender Inciarte grounds a pitch to right that just gets past Devon Travis at second for an RBI single, cutting the Braves' deficit to one run
Kurt Suzuki sneaks a solo home run over the right-field wall to get the Braves on the board in the top of the 2nd inning
Suzuki's solo home run
Kurt Suzuki sneaks a solo home run over the right-field wall to get the Braves on the board in the top of the 2nd inning
J.A. Happ strikes out eight across 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits in a matchup vs. the Braves
Happ K's 8 over 8 1/3 innings
J.A. Happ strikes out eight across 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits in a matchup vs. the Braves
J.A. Happ strikes out eight across 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits in a matchup vs. the Braves
Happ K's 8 over 8 1/3 innings
J.A. Happ strikes out eight across 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits in a matchup vs. the Braves
Kurt Suzuki sneaks a solo home run over the right-field wall to get the Braves on the board in the top of the 2nd inning
Suzuki's solo home run
Kurt Suzuki sneaks a solo home run over the right-field wall to get the Braves on the board in the top of the 2nd inning
J.A. Happ strikes out eight across 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits in a matchup vs. the Braves
Happ K's 8 over 8 1/3 innings
J.A. Happ strikes out eight across 8 1/3 strong innings, allowing four runs on six hits in a matchup vs. the Braves
Kurt Suzuki sneaks a solo home run over the right-field wall to get the Braves on the board in the top of the 2nd inning
Suzuki's solo home run
Kurt Suzuki sneaks a solo home run over the right-field wall to get the Braves on the board in the top of the 2nd inning
Peter Bourjos knocks a solo home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 3rd inning
Bourjos' solo jack
Peter Bourjos knocks a solo home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 3rd inning
Peter Bourjos knocks a solo home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 3rd inning
Bourjos' solo jack
Peter Bourjos knocks a solo home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 3rd inning
Peter Bourjos knocks a solo home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 3rd inning
Bourjos' solo jack
Peter Bourjos knocks a solo home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2 in the top of the 3rd inning
Ryan Tepera escapes a 9th-inning jam by getting Johan Camargo to fly out to center, tallying his 5th save and securing the win
Tepera earns his 5th save
Ryan Tepera escapes a 9th-inning jam by getting Johan Camargo to fly out to center, tallying his 5th save and securing the win

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