IRAN are the surprise leaders of Group B after the opening round of games but can the Asian outfit frustrate Spain in Kazan on Wednesday? Dan McCulloch (@danmcc84) analyses the action and pinpoints his favourite fancies.
Iran v Spain | Wednesday 20th June 2018, 19:00 | ITV
La Roja are as short as 1/7 to beat Iran, which may seem surprising to those who saw them concede three times against Portugal, while their opponents on Wednesday eventually overcome Morocco and sit top of Group B.
However, it is worth remembering that it was a fortuitous own-goal that secured Iran a scarcely deserved victory while Portugal scored from a penalty, a goalkeeping howler and a sublime free-kick.
After a nervy start, I thought Spain were excellent in general play against their Iberian neighbours. They had 67% possession, six shots on-target to their opponents’ three and easily won the Expected Goals statistic.
Spain to succeed in Kazan
Iran’s defensive prowess has been documented and I don’t see Spain scoring a hatful in Kazan but do see the recently appointed Fernando Hierro securing his first victory as manager. The match odds are certainly prohibitive but I do like the look of Spain to win and Under 3.5 Goals (8/11 BetVictor).
I really struggle to see Team Melli finding the net against La Roja and despite Spain’s dominance since over the last decade, it is worth noting that they have only scored four goals or more in three of their 27 matches at major tournaments since the start of Euro 2008.
While Spain looked excellent in general play, one player stood out: Real Madrid playmaker Isco. Only an unfortunate bounce on the line prevented him from scoring against Portugal and I believe that at 6/4 with Paddy Power he is excellent value to find the net here.
Iran v Spain – Spain to win and Under 3.5 Goals (8/11 BetVictor)
Iran v Spain – Isco to score at anytime (6/4 Paddy Power)