The surprise Group B leaders Iran take on Spain in Kazan, with the European side expecting three points to get their first win in Russia. However, it could be tough for Fernando Hierro’s men against a resilient Iran side who showed their defensive ability in their opening game win over Morocco where they kept a clean sheet. Whilst they may not offer much going the other way, they are comfortable playing in a structured shape.
Yet, there’s no doubt Spain are hot favourites and it’s understandable after their thrilling draw with Portugal. Whilst they only picked up a point, they played some superb football and it was the combined brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and a rare error from David De Gea that prevented them winning. But, after all the issues surrounding Jule Lopetegui and his departure, Spain looked assured and quality in challenging circumstances.
Here we will give you Iran vs Spain betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Iran vs Spain prediction for the Group B clash.
Our Iran vs Spain prediction: Iran 0-2 Spain
Our Iran vs Spain prediction tips is for the European side to come through with a relatively comfortable win that will put them in a commanding position in the group.
Iran’s gameplan will be clear and the way the game plays out is clear. They will let Spain dominate possession, sit deep and look to shut off spaces – and they’re very good at it under Carlos Quieroz. Iran will look to frustrate, play for set-pieces and play for a draw. With an unexpected win on the opening day, they know that even with a defeat against Spain they will have a chance going into the final match.
For the European side, it’s about getting a win and replicating their performance levels from Friday. Diego Costa led the line superbly and the midfield looked assured and confident in possession. The only issue was De Gea who was at fault for the second Ronaldo goal. Yet, they obviously won’t be up against a player of Ronaldo’s quality and will expect to have a comfortable evening defensively.
Our recommended tip – Spain to win to nil
As we’ve touched on, this game is going to be all Spain, with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and David Silva controlling play from the first whistle.
That, combined with Iran’s lack of ambition, means they will do well to give away chances and it could be played almost entirely in the Iran half. Their goal against Morocco was an own goal from a set-piece and that’s the only realistic chance Quieroz’s men will have of getting a goal.
However, we are more than happy to back Spain to win to nil and even though it’s not the best odds, it’s the safest bet available. Iran have a solid structure and it may not be a hammering but Spain should win and their possession based style will tire their opponents and ensure they get the win in the end and a clean sheet is very likely to follow.
This will be the first meeting between the nations and it will be a nice occasion for Queiroz who has worked in Spain before and managed Real Madrid.
Iran will be confident heading into the game after the win over Morocco and will be much more confident as a result. They actually looked slightly nervous early on against the Africans and should’ve fell behind but after riding out the 20-minute storm they were their normal selves and the dramatic win means they will be on a high against Spain and importantly that they don’t need a win.
Even though Spain dropped points late on, they will take confidence from their performance in their 3-3 draw with Portugal. There was huge pressure on them after Lopetegui’s late sacking but they played with real skill and class. It will have convinced the players that they can win the World Cup and they will be looking forward to the game.
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Players to watch – Sardar Azmoun & Diego Costa
It’s going to be very hard work for Iran and the reality is they could be pinned back in their own half and unders serious pressure for large spells. That will only be relieved if Azmoun, likely to start up front, can win free-kicks, harry the defence and carry the ball. It will be a case of defending from the front and Azmoun could be key to disrupting Spain’s rhythm.
Spain’s star man on Friday was Costa, who was his usual self, bullying the backline and chasing lost causes. With Iran likely to sit deep, Spain may need to go more direct at times and his physicality could be crucial in providing them with another option. He will be confident after his two goals last time out and will want to add to that in Kazan.