How Mohammadis needless somersault cost Iran the game against Spain

Iranians react while watching the national soccer team play against Morocco in the 2018 World Cup

In fact, the manner of their return to the pitch for the second half - with players closely grouped together and patting each other on the back - gave every indication they were just as united as ever.

In the 54th minute, Spain finally took the lead.

David Silva turned over from close range, but the nearly Catenaccio tactics of Iran ensured Spain dominated possession without really getting a shot on goal in the first half.

Nevertheless, consultation with the video assistant referee saw the goal correctly disallowed for offside. Spain will finish the group stage by facing Morocco.

With inches separating them from scoring their first goal of the tournament, Iranian midfielder Vahid Amiri nutmegged Pique and served a header for forward Mehdi Taremi at the edge of the six-yard-box, but it went over.

An unlikely win for Iran against Spain could be a massive shot in the arm towards their hopes of qualifying for the last-16.

Now tied on points and goal difference with fellow leaders Portugal, the Roja know they will have to better Ronaldo's men's result to take top spot, as the Selecao play simultaneously against Iran.

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The expectation that they would play well back was unfounded, however, even if they kept their shape superbly, restricting Spain to a handful of chances in the first half.

'We're more concerned because one member of our staff is in difficulties from a health point of view after the VAR decision, ' Queiroz said.

"The truth is I had a bit of luck (with the goal)", said the Atletico Madrid star after the game.

Dani Carvajal told AS after the game that while he has no problem with defending deeply and committing fouls, "Iran's time-wasting, pretending to be injured or hurt - to me, that's not football, it's disloyal". "They are very direct, tough, very strong physically", he said.

Still, they needed a 95th-minute own-goal from the unfortunate Aziz Bouhaddouz to snatch a 1-0 win although few would begrudge them the result, considering the battling display they produced throughout the contest.

The Iranian rally faltered when Silva found Costa in the area, and Rezaeian was desperately unlucky that his challenge ended pinging off the striker's knee and into the net.

Spain began the World Cup in ominous fashion, long-time coach Julen Lopetegui sensationally sacked on the eve of the tournament after Real Madrid announced he would be joining the club in July. We lost two or three players because of the harshness of the game.

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