The Meli of Iran have been eliminated from the 2018 FIFA World Cup after being held to a 1-1 draw by Portugal in their last group game.
Iran played with gusto and panache, but despite keeping Portuguese danger man Cristiano Ronaldo quiet, they fell to a world class trike from Ricardo Quaresma’s who’s outside-of-the-right-foot effort on 42 minutes beat Iranian keeper Alireza Beiranvand to give Portugal a 1-0 lead at half-time.
Iran became desperate and started bagging tons of yellow cards.
It appeared things were going to get worse for the Iranians after a VAR review by the referee saw Portugal awarded a penalty in the 53rd minute.
Ronaldo’s kick was saved by keeper Beiranvand, making him the fifth player to miss a penalty at this World Cup.
Iran poured forward in numbers and their efforts were rewarded as a hand ball by Portuguese defender Cedric in the 93rd minute was spotted through VAR, and Ansarifard fired home the resultant penalty to give hope to thousands of Iranian fans gathered in the arena.
It could have been a different story if Taremi had found the back of the net on 94 minutes, but is shot hit the side netting.
And with that, Iran’s efforts were in vain.
The result was good news for Spain, who ended up topping Group B.
The La Furia Roja played out a pulsating 2-2 draw with Morocco, leaving them with 5 points like Portugal but with a superior goals difference.
What is the final outcome?
Spain will be confident of beating hosts Russia in the second round, while Portugal must now face a highly rejuvenated Uruguay in the other second round pairing.
What do the stats say?
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in the opening 5 minutes of both of Portugal’s matches at this WorldCup
- Cristiano Ronaldo has missed a penalty at the World Cup for the first time (third attempt – excluding shootouts)
- Iran is yet to make it to the knock-out stage of the World Cup in 5 attempts