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REUTERS
June 21, 2018

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Spain beat Iran 1-0

KAZAN/ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia: A scrappy second half goal by Diego Costa broke a Persian stonewall and lifted Spain to a 1-0 win over a courageous Iran in a nerve-jangling World Cup clash on Wednesday.

Costa claimed his third goal of the tournament in the 54th minute at Kazan Arena but the striker hardly knew about it, the ball deflecting off his legs from an attempted clearance by hapless Iran defender Ramin Rezaeian.

After a match played out to a deafening blare from vuvuzela horns from a huge army of Iranian fans, Spain will feel relieved to have emerged with maximum points.

Iran were brilliant in defence for much of the night but also made a number of telling incursions.

A goal by Saeid Ezatolahi was ruled out offside after being reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR), while Karim Ansarifard had earlier hammered into the side netting.

Meanwhile, Luis Suarez marked his 100th international cap by sending Uruguay into the last 16 of the World Cup as the striker benefited from some poor goalkeeping to eliminate Saudi Arabia with a 1-0 win on Wednesday.

Suarez tapped in midway through the first half after keeper Mohammed Al-Owais failed to grab the ball on a corner. The goal put Uruguay second in Group A with a maximum six points behind hosts Russia.

Saudi Arabia, who have not won a World Cup game since their debut in 1994, have zero points, just like Egypt, who lost 3-1 to Russia on Tuesday.

Suarez´s goal was by no means pretty, but it did the trick.

At least Suarez, who missed three sitters in Uruguay´s 1-0 opening win against Egypt, was his vintage efficient self with his 52nd international goal although he will not have dismissed fears he was not 100 percent fit.

With temperatures reaching 33 degrees Celsius, two-time world champions Uruguay and Saudi Arabia got off to a cautious start.

Uruguay´s Edinson Cavani wasted a chance in the 14th minute, skying a half volley over the bar.

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