Iranian defender Majid Hosseini kicked the ball, causing it to deflect off Diego Costa and into his own goal.
Iran thought they had found the equalizer soon after, but another feather in the cap for the Video Assistant Referee saw the goal correctly ruled out for offside.
Iniesta was keen to brush aside any reopening of the debate, insisting it continues to be business as usual under Hierro ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Iran. On one occasion, in the 39th minute, Diego Costa objected after Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand began jumping in pain, insisting to the referee that Costa had stamped on his foot.
Spain continued to apply strong pressure in the second half and Beiranvand stopped a strike from Sergio Busquets in the 49th minute with a superb one-handed diving save.
The first-half was effectively an attack versus defence drill.
Paces picked up in the second half with Spain desperate to make a breakthrough.
Finally, in the 54th minute, Spain scored the goal which reflected their superiority, though the goal itself was fortuitous at best.
Fernando Hierro, Spain’s sporting director, is now at the helm but barely a week into the tournament La Roja – expected to join Brazil, Germany and France in the latter stages – have endured more drama than they would have wanted or expected.
Hierro, who scored 29 goals in an 89-cap career with Spain, was promoted from his role as sporting director in time for their crunch opener with Portugal.
“I was a bit lucky in the goal, but I am happy because it had been a very hard-fought game and [Iran] were all behind the ball”, he added.
“I deny my players wasted time”, Queiroz told Onda Cero radio after the game.
‘There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but we deserved more for the way we played. Like many great footballing dynasties, though, it is probably true to say that the Spain side could probably run itself given the wealth of experience at the core of the team.
Iran still has three points following their opening win over Morocco, and won’t give up on their “dream” of a place in the last 16, said Queiroz.
“It was a hard game”.
They said he could not score. Morocco, meanwhile, have practically lost the chance to reach the knockout phase after being beaten twice.
“But the doors are now open and screening will happen. That’s it”, said Queiroz, not losing the hope for Iran to progress to the next phase through a win over Portugal. Iran was also unsafe on the break, using the speed of its attacking players to threaten the Spanish back four but without creating many real chances.