Spain coach Fernando Hierro has warned his players to take nothing for granted despite a 1-0 win over Iran which puts them on the brink of qualifying for the World Cup knockout stages.
Iran will face powerhouse Spain on Wednesday at the Kazan Arena.
Iran did get the ball in the net with Saeid Ezatolahi, but VAR disallowed the goal for an offside position after several very tense minutes.
But on Wednesday the Brazil-born striker was the difference-maker as La Roja finally managed to break down a superbly-drilled and fantastically courageous Iran side to win 1-0 in Kazan and put themselves on the verge of a place in the last 16.
It was not until the 25th minute that Spain had a shot on target, with Silva sending a free kick straight into the arms of keeper Ali Beiranvand.
Spain close out their Group B campaign on Monday against already eliminated Morocco.
The second half started at a great pace, with Alireza Beiranvand forced into two great saves just six minutes after the restart, denying Pique on the line before a great leaping save to keep out a thunderous effort from Sergio Busquets.
Spain were hanging on, but time was running out for Iran to find a goal and snatch a point from this Group B encounter. Ball possession was 69 percent for Spain and 31 percent for Iran.
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.
“The truth is I had a bit of luck (with the goal)”, said the Atletico Madrid star after the game.
“As a 23-man group we are very committed – we are one team and that is how we will play until the end”, added Costa.
“It was a hard game”.
“It’s not easy to score against them, they’re strong physically so it’s going to be tough”. They “blindly trust” each other, as Iniesta said on Tuesday.
Iran need a win over Portugal in their final group game, which is a big ask for one of the lowest ranked sides in the tournament.
Spain headed to Russian Federation in similarly impressive form, romping their qualifying group, but while a draw with Switzerland and a limp 1-0 victory over Tunisia did little to dampen spirits.
“Everything is open. We are still alive, dreaming”. At the same time, Iran will take on Portugal, knowing that a win over Cristiano Ronaldo’s side will be enough for them to reach the round of 16. The team has lost its stability, its spark, and its emotional control, and has been penalized by the poor form of some of its fundamental players, and due to the clear nerves being suffered by the usually excellent goalkeeper, De Gea.