David de Gea Spain
Following his mistake against Portugal, the pressure is firmly on Davdi de GeaLuis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Spain showed how dangerous they can be in attack in their opening match of the Fifa World Cup 2018, and that same goalscoring mojo will be needed when they play Iran in their second game of Group B on Wednesday.

Having gone down twice to Cristiano Ronaldo's brilliance, Spain showed they have the mental strength to come back, and while they might have struggled to hold onto their lead in the end, they did show that, even with all the managerial troubles coming into this World Cup, they remain a potent force.

That potency will be of utmost importance against Iran, who kept a clean sheet in their opening match, while coming away with all three points.

What that means is that Iran are above Spain in the Group B standings, with the pressure firmly on the heavyweights to come away with the win in Kazan.

Pressure is something they handled well at times, but not so much during some phases of the game. David de Gea is the one who will be under the spotlight, after the Manchester United goalkeeper made a big mistake against Portugal, letting a straight Ronaldo shot burst through his hands.

De Gea is not the same beast in a Spain shirt, with the goalkeeper constantly struggling for consistency on the international stage, but the manager Fernando Hierro insists he remains the No 1 option at this Fifa World Cup 2018.

"David de Gea will be in the starting line-up," Hierro said. "We have full trust in him."

What Iran must do is take early shots in the game, just to test De Gea's nerves.

Coming off a win against Morocco, the Iran spirits will be high, but they will also know Spain serves up a much bigger challenge. This game, for the Middle East side, will be about defending, defending and defending, while trying to take advantage of any chance that might come their way at the other end.

Team news:


With Hierro confirming that De Gea will start the game, the manager will look further forward for his possible changes in the starting XI.

Dani Carvajal, the first-choice right-back has been passed fit from a hamstring injury, and having missed the opening game against Portugal, he could return. If Carvajal comes into the playing XI, his Real Madrid team-mate Nacho will make way.

Nacho had a busy match against Portugal, conceding a penalty to allow Ronaldo to open the scoring, before putting Spain into the lead with an absolute peach of a strike. The defender, though, is better in the centre, and Carvajal is the more experienced option at right-back.

The rest of the Spain team should be the same, unless Hierro feels Thiago Alcantara provides a more creative option to Koke in the middle.


The team from the Middle East were dealt a big blow, when Rouzbeh Cheshmi was ruled out of the remainder of the Fifa World Cup 2018 with a muscle injury suffered in training on Sunday. The injury is severe enough to keep him out for four weeks, which means an end to his tournament.

Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh or Pejman Montazeri will step in at the back for Cheshmi.

Confirmed starting XI:

Spain: David de Gea; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; David Silva, Isco, Lucas Vazquez; Diego Costa.

Iran: Ali Beiranvand; Ramin Rezaeian, Morteza Pouraliganji, Morteza Puraliganji, Ehsan Haji Safi; Saeid Ezatolahi, Omid Ebrahimi; Karim Ansarifard, Mehdi Taremi, Vahid Amiri; Sardar Azmoun.