Spain have a must-win match coming up on Wednesday, when they face Iran at Kazan Arena in FIFA World Cup Group B. The two nations have never met before in an international football match, Spain have won the World Cup in 2010 while Iran have never managed to get past the group stage. However, at the 2014 World Cup both teams were eliminated after the group stage, Iran with a draw against Nigeria and defeats against Argentina and Bosnia, and Spain with one victory and two defeats.
Iran pulled off a big upset in their first match at the 2018 World Cup as they defeated African champions Morocco 1-0. It was a rather lucky result for he Iranians, Morocco dominated most of the match and the difference was made with an own-goal scored in stoppage time. Portuguese head coach Carlos Queiroz has taught the Iranians to defend well and go for counter attacks whenever possible, that is what they have done against Morocco and that is what they will do against Spain as well. Saeid Ezatolahi has served his suspension and is available again, but the head coach will probably stick to his winning eleven.
Spain started their campaign with a spectacular match against Portugal, they fought back twice and had a 3-2 lead in the final minutes of the match but a splendid free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo made it 3-3. That result leaves Spain with a single option for Wednesday's match, they have to beat Iran if they want to have a solid chance of getting past the group stage. Head coach Fernando Hierro will probably stick to the same first eleven, but Daniel Carvajal might take Nacho's place if he is fit.
Iran: Beiranvand - Rezaeian, Cheshmi, Pouraliganji, Safi - Ebrahimi - Jahanbakhsh, Shojaei, Amiri, Ansarifard - Azmoun
Spain: De Gea - Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba - Koke, Busquets, Iniesta - Isco, Costa, D. Silva
My prediction: Spain to win 2-0, Iran won't be able to hold them goalless for the whole ninety minutes.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Iran win - 23.00
Draw - 8.00
Spain win - 1.16