Spain take on Iran as the former world champions look to bounce back from a disappointing 3-3 draw against Portugal. But, who are the three players to look out for in the match?
Spain will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they meet Iran at the Kazan Arena on Wednesday. The European giants were involved in arguably the most fascinating encounter in this year’s World Cup when they drew 3-3 with Portugal. Spain are currently third in the Group B standings, meaning a win is imperative as they seek not to replicate the massacre of the 2014 World Cup.
Iran, on the other hand, will be confident yet cautious as they face the 2010 World Champions this midweek. The Asian giants are coming on the back of a morale-boosting win over Morocco in their opening fixture when Aziz Bouahddouz’s unfortunate own goal handed them a slender 1-0 victory.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we take a look at three players who could have a telling effect in this highly anticipated encounter.
After a brace against Portugal in Spain’s opening fixture, Diego Costa would be brimming with confidence. He will now be looking to build on that performance in order to hand La Roja a massive boost ahead of their final group game against Morocco whilst also giving him the edge in the race for the Golden Boot.
The former Chelsea striker striker was one of Spain’s best players in the game against Portugal, scoring both of the equalizers before being subbed off later in the game. And after silencing his critics in the first game, he will be desperate to take on the Iranian defence. Therefore, stopping him will be imperative for Carlos Queiroz’s side, if they are to snatch anything out of this game.
Spain are likely to remain unchanged on Wednesday, meaning Costa will once again have the services of David Silva and Isco in the final third. That being said, it remains to be seen whether or not he manages to deal with a younger and more athletic Iranian defence.
By far the most influential figure for Spain in the attacking department, the presence of David Silva will once again be crucial as the European giants look to get past Iran in their second group game.
Despite Spain’s struggles against Portugal, David Silva was a key figure in the offensive zones, often building up the momentum in most of their attacking moments. His ability to carve out the opposing defence coupled with his extraordinary vision will definitely give Spain the advantage in the final third against an Iranian defence, who have looked slightly edgy thus far in the tournament.
The likes of Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Morteza Pouraliganji will likely be on their toes in an effort to stop the Manchester City playmaker from once again making a nuisance of himself in the opposition half. Watch out for this little genius.
All eyes will be on Sardar Azmoun as Iran look to cause a massive upset against Spain this week. By far the most gifted player in the Iran squad, the Rubin Kazan striker is the only player who has the talent to carve out the Spanish defence.
And head coach Carlos Queiroz will be hoping that the 23-year-old can live up to his hype. The biggest factor which could drive him on, however, is the fact that he’ll be playing in his club’s home stadium, meaning the Rubin Kazan fans will surely back their beloved striker on Wednesday.
Even though Azmoun failed to find the back of the net in the first game against Morocco, a good performance against Spain will surely boost his confidence while inflicting more damage into the Spanish hearts. Thus, he certainly remains an attraction as Iran go head to head against the European giants in this very important Group B clash on Wednesday.