Caretaker Hierro leaving his mark on Spain at World Cup

Spain's Gerard Pique second from right scores during the Euro 2016 match between Spain and the Czech Republic

Spain's Gerard Pique second from right scores during the Euro 2016 match between Spain and the Czech Republic

Spain star Isco was praised on Wednesday after taking time out before his country's crucial World Cup group game with Iran to safely escort an injured bird off the pitch. The kickoff of the second half, however, saw the Spanish side pick of momentum in their chase for a goal, creating a couple of chances.

His gesture went unpunished, and the Atletico Madrid striker required another stroke of luck on 54 minutes when his shot came off Ramin Rezaeian to beat Beiranvand after he had been sent through by Andres Iniesta.

Iran thought they had levelled things up 10 minutes later, but Saeid Ezatolahi's goal was ruled offside by the referee's assistant, a decision then backed up by VAR.

Iran approached the match with a defensive gameplan in mind. "We were happier after the match against Portugal, but we only had one point". Do not cut, copy or lift any content from this website without our consent. Iranian defender Majid Hosseini kicked the ball, causing it to deflect off Diego Costa and into his own goal.

Hierro said he expects a hard game for every team.

Spain and Portugal are on four points, while Iran is on three, making the last group stage match between Portugal and Iran a massive one with huge implications. The Iran team knows exactly what it wants to do, and it's not easy to score against them.

We lost two or three players because of the harshness of the game. "If we had six more months (without it) maybe we would have had a point - but it is good for the credibility of football".




Trust has become the Spain camp's buzzword following the shock pre-tournament sacking of coach Carlos Lopetegui with replacement Fernando Hierro the latest to use it to express his faith in David de Gea.

Some even went as far as describing it 'the tweet of the World Cup'.

"The Iranian team are very strong, both in defending and attacking".

Nevertheless, Iran still looked menacing at times, and Taremi failed to convert two excellent opportunities in the final quarter of an hour.

"We are well aware of Spain's reputation, so we'll have to play our best game ever".

An Iran win against a tough Portugal squad on Monday will punch the Persian team's ticket to the final 16.

That goal is one step closer thanks to Costa's intervention, but Spain need to add more strings to their bow and be more malleable in the face of their opponent after being slow to adapt against Iran.

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