JACKSONVILLE, FL – FEBRUARY 09: Forward Christen Press #22 of the U.S. takes a shot by defender Jennifer Beattie #10 of Scotland during the first half against Scotland at EverBank Field on February 9, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. At half time the United States lead Scotland 2-0. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
- Spain goal: Costa (54′)
- Iranian goal disallowed
- Next: Spain-Morocco, Portugal-Iran
Iran had an equalizer taken away via Video Assistant Referee and Spain picked up its first win of the 2018 World Cup with a 1-0 win in Kazan on Wednesday.
Diego Costa scored Spain’s goal, as La Furia Roja joined Portugal atop Group B on four points. Iran has three, while eliminated Morocco has yet to get a result.
Team Melli lost their chance to sit atop the group when Saeid Ezatolahi rebound was ruled to have come after an offside touch from a teammate.
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Spain certainly had its chances in the first half hour, capped off by an attempted overhead kick from David Silva.
Man City’s 32-year-old attacker had a great deal of chances in the contest, and would see a deflected rip bound wide of the goal during three minutes of first half stoppag time.
After Gerard Pique missed an in-tight chance to start the second half, Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand made an outstanding punch save on Isco before punching away the rebound bid.
Iran found its first true chance of the match in the 53rd minute, with Karim Ansarifard lashing into a shot from 15 yards that tore into the outside of the goal.
It was moments later that Spain went ahead, Costa getting a goal when a clearance bounding off his shin and into the net.
Mehdi Taremi flicked a header wide of the goal, and Iran thought it had an equalizer through Saeid Ezatolahi only for VAR to step in and call offside on the previous Iranian to touch the ball.
It was off, but only just.
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Beiranvand was again on the scene for a 70th minute goal mouth scramble following a drawn-up corner kick by Spain.
Taremi pounded a header over the goal after a Vahid Amiri nutmeg of Pique led to a back post cross.
The ongoing World Cup hasn’t halted the transfer talk across global soccer, and on Wednesday there are a number of potentially intriguing storylines.
Two Premier League sides are chasing Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio, including Chelsea and Manchester United, while they will have to battle Paris Saint-Germain as well.
Although Asensio is prepared to stay in Spain next season, he wants to be assured of playing time under new manager Julen Lopetegui, who recently joined the club.
The 22-year-old scored 11 goals in all competitions last season for Los Blancos.
Juventus continues to have several players at the center of transfer rumors, and Miralem Pjanic is a name that keeps popping up.
The midfielder won’t come cheap though, with Juve reportedly set to ask for $92.6 million in the event that a club wants to acquire Pjanic.
Barcelona is rumored to be seeking a move for Pjanic with Andres Iniesta now heading to Vissel Kobe in the J-League.
New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is reportedly looking to bring several of his former Napoli players to Stamford Bridge, including Belgium star Dries Mertens.
The Blues are seeking more attacking options ahead of the fall, and the veteran Mertens has become a proven commodity in front of goal over the course of his Serie A career.Follow @MattReedFutbol
The first two nations have advanced to the knockout phase out of Group A.
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Uruguay reached the Round of 16 on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia, who has been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.
Hosts Russia will also reach the knockout rounds with the Uruguay win, thus eliminating Egypt as well.
The Barcelona striker gave Uruguay the lead in the 23rd minute, after a poor read from Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais.
Suarez was given a wide-open finish at the far post off the corner kick for his first goal at the World Cup. The 31-year-old had scored a combined five goals during his last two World Cup appearances (2010 & 2014).
The Uruguyans dictated the tempo throughout much of the match, but Saudi Arabia’s back line held strong for the majority of the game.
Uruguay will close out group play against Group A leaders and hosts Russia on June 25, while Saudi Arabia and Egypt will tango that same day.Follow @MattReedFutbol
Luis Suarez was clearly upset with his lack of finishing in Uruguay’s opener last Friday, but the Barcelona man is finally on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup.
The veteran striker gave Uruguay the lead in the 23rd minute after a close-range finish off of a corner kick.
Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais came out to try and collect the cross, however, he was slow in his reaction, allowing the ball to slip through to Suarez for the easy finish.
The Uruguayans will reach the Round of 16 with one match remaining if they hold on to their 1-0 lead.Follow @MattReedFutbol