Another lopsided match will feature on Wednesday, June 20th as Group B rivals square off as the group-leading Iranians look to maintain top spot as they battle Spain.
It’s quite shocking that Iran sit atop Group B after one match, but whether or not that lasts past this game will be another discussion entirely. The Iranians were quite fortunate to sneak out a last-minute victory against a disappointing Morocco side, and got the full three points of an own goal. They didn’t look particularly dangerous going forward, but their defense has been solid through qualifying. On Wednesday though, they’ll receive a much tougher test of things from the talented Spaniards.
Spain weren’t as lucky as Iran in their opening match. Despite dominating their rivals from Portugal, some glaring mistakes, penalties, and Ronaldo magic derailed their chances of a victory. They still did a plethora of good things and looked incredibly dangerous in attack. Iran has boasted a solid defensive record for some time now, but if the Spaniards want to prove they’re the class at the top of Group B – they should be able to create enough to break them down with regularity.
It should be an intriguing match-up to watch Spain’s beautiful and free-flowing attack go against the Iranian defensive shell. Please read on below for a match breakdown and betting opportunities.
Iran vs. Spain Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (-125)
Under 2.5 (+105
Iran vs. Spain Pick:
Expect Spain to come out firing in this one, especially after frustratingly being held by Portugal in their first match. There was also still some shockwaves going through their camp at kickoff time against Portugal, as their new manager had barely been in charge for 48 hours. Now, the Spaniards have had time to settle and refocus and should be primed and ready to turn in a patented Spanish performance on Wednesday afternoon.
Diego Costa was excellent against Portugal, providing the necessary offensive punch needed to break through their line. Against Iran, his physicality and talent should play well and should allow the Atletico Madrid forward to enhance his scoring record.
Iran’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz has proven to be a master at frustrating skilled opposition, and will try and again do that to Spain. He’s undoubtedly very familiar with the side, and will have his sights set on securing a boring and uneventful draw from this encounter.
The only problem is Spain now play a more direct and lethal finishing style. That was on full display against Portugal last Friday, and ultimately the rapid ball movement and pace on Spain’s excellent midfield should propel them to a constant barrage of scoring chances and attempts on goal.
Iran will line up in an ultra-defensive 4-1-4-1 and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them possess the ball for less than 25% of the match. They’re ready to defend. Spain’s Fernando Hierro will counter with an attacking 4-3-3, and look to ensure that the speedy David Silva and Isco can create out wide to allow Diego Costa a mismatch in the penalty area.
Iran can defend all they want, but they won’t be able to do it for 90 minutes against a talented and hungry Spanish side. Spain created a ton vs. Portugal, and though Iran have a stout defensive record, they haven’t been tested against a team of this quality. Spain have loads of experience in breaking down ten-man defensive barricades, and once they do find a breakthrough, the rout will begin.
In terms of betting a match this lopsided, it’s important to really delve into the options at each individual online sportsbook. For this match, I’d recommend looking into the alternative spread on Spain at -1.5 goals. Once the Spaniards score their first, it’ll likely force Iran to open up a bit more, and that should give La Roja even more of an opening to pot a second or a third goal. It’s a juicy number at -165, but I can’t see Spain having that much trouble in routing this weakened Iranian side.