By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 20th June 2018
Spain have no fresh injury concerns but Iranian defender Rouzbeh Cheshmi has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament after sustaining a muscle injury in training.
Real Madrid wingers Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez could come in for Koke and David Silva to provide pace and an outlet behind the lines. Diego Costa is expected to keep his place ahead of Rodrigo and Iago Aspas.
Iran’s win over Morocco, their first at a World Cup finals since 1998, places them at the top of Group B but with upcoming games against Spain and Portugal qualification is not a guarantee. A goal inside the first five minutes is betting at 15/2.
Spain have arguably been the most impressive side at the World Cup so far, playing some superb football against Portugal in their opening game. In contrast, Iran are a notoriously stubborn side and the two styles on show couldn’t be further apart. Both teams to score in the first half was 15/4 but is now betting at 5/1.
Despite keeping 14 clean sheets in 18 qualifying games and remaining unbeaten, Iran will be weary of the threat posed by a determined and fit Diego Costa. He has eight goals in his last eight international starts. Diego Costa to score first is 5/2.
The bull-dozing forward bullied henchmen Pepe and Jose Fonte and he will fancy his chances at catching up with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the goal-scoring charts. Diego Costa is 6/1 to win the Golden Boot.
Spain were widely tipped as one of the favourites of this tournament and their new coach Fernando Hierro will be wary of the fact his side crashed out of the last World Cup group stages.
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.