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Spain gets win after Iran sees equalizer ruled out

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  • 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.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

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.

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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.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 7 — Spain, Portugal aim for wins

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Spain and Portugal got through the toughest match on their Group B dockets, against each other, but now need to stack some W’s.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s EURO champs open Wednesday’s World Cup action with a match against Morocco, and manager Fernando Hierro leads Spain against Iran to close out the day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

In the middle, Uruguay looks to suck the drama out of Group A by joining Russia as 2-0 sides.

Below is Wednesday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group A
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia: Rostov, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group B
Portugal vs. Morocco: Moscow, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Iran vs. Spain: Kazan, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Valladolid earns promotion to Spain’s Liga

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MADRID (AP) Valladolid earned promotion to Spain’s topflight after drawing with Numancia 1-1 on Saturday and winning their playoff 4-1 on aggregate.

Numancia got its only goal of the two-match tie in the 87th minute when Manuel del Moral scored.

Jaime Mata leveled the second leg match for host Valladolid in stoppage time.

Valladolid last played in La Liga in the 2013-14 season.

Rayo Vallecano and Huesca already earned promotion directly by finishing the second division in first and second place.

Valladolid earned promotion from the two-round playoff between the teams that finished the second division in third through sixth place.

Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes deal on tax fraud case

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MADRID (AP) Spanish media reports that Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud and pay a fine of 18.8 million euros ($21.8 milllion) in exchange for a prison sentence that would most likely be suspended.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Iran ]

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Friday that Ronaldo is ready to admit to four counts of tax fraud that would carry a prison sentence of two years. Prison sentences not over two years in Spain are often suspended for first-time offenders.

The deal has yet to be ratified by Spain’s Tax Office, according to different Spanish media including Europa Press news agency.

Neither Spain’s Tax Office, its Ministry of Justice nor people close to Ronaldo would confirm the existence of a deal when called by The Associated Press.

Reports of the deal came hours before Ronaldo scored three goals to give Portugal a 3-3 draw with Spain in their opening match of the World Cup in Russia.

One year ago, a Spanish state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million). The prosecutor accused Ronaldo of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights. The accusation does not involve his salary from Real Madrid.

Ronaldo denied any wrongdoing when questioned by a judge last July.

In 2016, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi received a suspended 21-month jail sentence after being found guilty of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros (then $4.6 million).

Spain coach Hierro: Portugal “extremely fortunate” to have Ronaldo

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Spain coach Fernando Hierro says his side isn’t troubled by changing managers on the eve of the World Cup, even if things didn’t go to plan in its tournament opener.

[ RECAP: Portugal 3-3 Spain ]

“This is a mature squad, the team knows what it wants and have been playing a lot together,” Hierro said. “It is wonderful to have these mature, committed players.”

Hierro’s team twice equalized against Portugal before losing a 3-2 lead to a wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo free kick on Friday in Russia.

That draw came days after Spain, one of the tournament favorites, fired coach Julen Lopetegui for accepting the Real Madrid job without consulting them first.

Spain went down 1-0 and 2-1 to Cristiano Ronaldo goals, one a penalty kick, one bobbled by David De Gea, before the megastar scored his free kick equalizer.

“When you are playing a player like Ronaldo these things can happen. When you have a player like Ronaldo, it is extremely fortunate for whichever team has him, but I certainly would not change him for any of the players in my squad.”

Spain gets Morocco next.