Hierro's Spain must breach the wall that Carlos built

Fernando Hierro has confirmed right-back Dani Carvajal is back in contention for Spain ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Iran after recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the Champions League final.

Iran did their utmost to frustrate the 2010 world champions in a clash of styles, but Diego Costa eventually opened the scoring with a scrappy 54th-minute victor that ended up the evening's only goal. 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.

Costa claimed his third goal of the tournament in the 54th minute at Kazan Arena but the striker hardly knew about it, the ball deflecting off his knee from an attempted clearance by hapless Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian.

Saeid Ezatolahi, his team-mates and nearly the entire Iranian bench celebrated wildly before the referee ruled the goal out.

Spain managed to walk away with three points against Iran, but the FC crew explain how Iran managed to disrupt La Roja. Do not cut, copy or lift any content from this website without our consent.

Iran, however, surprisingly lead the group after round one, after a shocking win over Morocco, and will be hoping the resolute defending that served them well in their first match will be enough to keep out one of the pre-tournament favourites.

"We got three points, four on the whole, and maybe we were happier against Portugal than today".

Serbia Surprise: Eagles have early advantage in group play
So, in the office bet365 have set a ratio of 1.95 for the win of Golden lilies, and on the success of Costa Rica to 4.75. The coach also suggested the team spirit in the Serbian camp had been different than in recent years.

Spain tied 3-3 with Portugal on Friday in their first worldwide match under newly-minted head coach Hierro, who took the job just two days before the World Cup after Julen Lopetegui was sacked for announcing he would lead Real Madrid next season.

"We're praying for him at the moment", added Queiroz, whose team will need to beat Portugal next Monday if they are to make the next round of the World Cup.

The former Chelsea man also admitted that he had a helping hand from Lady Luck to score what would be the game's crucial goal.

Iran's approach was far more positive following Costa's strike, Mehdi Taremi heading just over from close range in what was their clearest opportunity to find an unlikely leveller. Cautious optimism will be the order of the day, and Iran boss Carlos Queros side will be looking for a similarly defensively strong performance against one of the favourites for the World Cup.

Nothing to worry about, it's only the World Cup.

Diego Costa was the match victor for Fernando Hierro's side in the encounter after they were held to an enthralling 3-3 draw last Friday by Portugal. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal.

"We played a great game against Portugal and today the opponent was a lot more defensive".

  • Michelle Webb