News Matches

Iran v Portugal Live Commentary, 25/06/2018

1 - 1
K. Ansarifard (90+3 pen)
Ricardo Quaresma (45)
Mordovia Arena


Ricardo Quaresma's beautiful first-half strike is cancelled out by a VAR penalty from Karim Ansarifard - but it is not enough for Iran as Portugal progress from Group B to the knockout rounds. The substitute's late goal is enough to consign Fernando Santos' men to second however as Spain tie 2-2 with Morocco - meaning Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed a penalty, will face off against Uruguay in the round of 16. Full-time in Saransk at the end of a frantic game; Iran 1-1 Portugal.
Cédric Soares
Yellow Card
90' + 8' Cedric gets booking after the whistle in a farcical finish to this game as tempers continue to boil over.
Gonçalo Guedes
André Silva
90' + 6' Andre Silva is replaced by Goncalo Guedes with the final change of the game.
90' + 4' Taremi puts it into the side netting for Iran! My word, that could have been history as, from close range, he squeezes his shot the wrong side of the left post.
K. Ansarifard
Penalty Goal
90' + 3' ANSARIFARD SCORES! 1-1! The substitute almost misses as he puts it high and the ball flies into the roof of the netting on the right side. Suddenly, Iran have a chance. VAR has rescued them here. All square in Saransk.
90' + 2' The results mean that Portugal's easier-on-paper tie with Russia does not come to pass; instead, Spain top the group and will face the hosts in the round of 16. Ronaldo and company must face Uruguay instead, unbeaten at the 2018 World Cup - and for Iran, it is heartbreak as they pack their bags and head home. Until the next time then, thank you for joining us - and have a good week!
90' + 2' The penalty is given! Iran have a chance to equalise here, with Ansarifard to take.
90' Are we getting another VAR penalty? The referee, after much delay, is off to the touchline to look at a potential handball against Cedric. Four added minutes.
88' Ronaldo gets taken out with an Ansarifard tackle out on the left wing and duly swings it in, with Rezaeian the man to clear before a header can come in.
86' This has been a highly energetic, rather fractious game between the pair tonight, but as it stands, Iran are heading out of the World Cup at the group stage once more. Portugal are currently headed for the knockout stages - and a match with Uruguay or Russia.
João Moutinho
João Mário
84' Joao Moutinho replaces Mario now for Portugal's second change of the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Yellow Card
83' It's a booking for Ronaldo after the referee returns to the pitch, which he can't quite believe. The tackle itself was something of nothing, and the Portugal captain may feel hard done by there.
81' Ronaldo brings down Pouraliganji as the pair jostle for a ball out on the left wing, deep in Iranian territory now and the referee heads to the VAR to look for a possible red card after replays show that the Portugal captain caught the defender on the face with his hand.
79' Amiri wins a free-kick out on the left wing for Iran after Cedric catches him with a nippy challenge but Portugal defend it cleanly and break back downfield with Ronaldo.
77' Silva goes for goal from distance and hooks it well wide to the right. Portugal still have the lead but they've not come close to an equaliser really since Ronaldo's penalty.
K. Ansarifard
S. Ezatolahi
76' Karim Ansarifard is the final change for Iran, as he replaces Ezatolahi.
74' As Iran flag in midfield, so too do Portugal; their game management is becoming increasingly sloppy, with a few loose passes opening it up more than they would want. Azmoun nearly gets a boot to a loose pass in the opposition box, but goes down under pressure from Carvalho and Pepe clears.
72' Ghoddos! My word, that was close from the substitute. A long ball played to Azmoun is nudged to him and he blasts a shot wide by a couple of inches at the left post from 20 yards out.
S. Ghoddos
A. Jahanbakhsh
70' ...and Iran take off Jahanbakhsh and bring Saman Ghoddos on.
Bernardo Silva
Ricardo Quaresma
70' A change for both sides now with 20 minutes left on the clock; Quaresma - on a booking - is replaced by Bernardo Silva...
68' There's a touch of fatigue setting into Iran right now as Portugal slip round them with ease again through Adrien Silva. They aren't going down without a fight still though; Jahanbakhsh intercepts and sweeps a long cross in for Taremi that Cedric heads away.
66' Ronaldo cuts around the Iranian midfield and towards the opposition box with ease on the left, but strong work by the back four force him to cut wide before he skews his shot out at the right post.
Ricardo Quaresma
Yellow Card
64' An awful tackle from Quaresma! He absolutely clatters Ezatolahi on the cusp of halfway and the referee books him - but the Portugal man is lucky to not be sent off for that.
63' There's a pause in play after goalscorer Quaresma goes down at the edge of the Iran box. The Portugal man does not appear to be seriously injured and on the touchline, Queiroz is frustrated by the stoppage.
61' Guerreiro goes for goal himself from outside the Iran box, only to see it deflected straight back to him off Pouraliganji. This second-half is an utterly enthralling encounter, even more so than the first with that penalty save.
59' The energy levels between both sides has ramped up massively since half-time as Iran seek those two goals. They've only ever managed to score more than once on a single occasion in their World Cup history; against the USA at France 1998.
57' Pepe puts a fabulous sliding tackle across his own box to stop Jahanbakhsh's cross in and put it out for Iran's first corner.
M. Mohammadi
E. Hajisafi
56' The Iranian captain is the first man to be substituted in this game as his manager Queiroz is ordered back into his technical area following his departure to address his players after Azmoun's yellow card. Milad Mohammadi is the replacement,
55' Penalty shout from Azmoun! He gets bundled to ground by Fonte in the Portugal box, but the referee waves his call away.
S. Azmoun
Yellow Card
54' Tempers are boiling over now as Azmoun is shown a yellow card for a cynical tackle on Adrien Silva. Iran need to keep their cool; they are still very much in this game.
A. Beiranvand
Penalty Save
53' Alireza Beiranvand is the hero of Iran as he reads Ronaldo's low effort and dives to his left to grab it. It wasn't the finest of strikes but full credit to the keeper who has been lacking in confidence at the back. Portugal's lead stays at 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Penalty Miss
53' Ronaldo steps up, strikes right - and IT'S SAVED!
E. Hajisafi
Yellow Card
52' Haji Safi is given a booking for his protests as Ronaldo lines up take the penalty.
51' Play is yet to be restarted in Saransk and all of a sudden, referee Caceres jogs off to the side to look at the VAR screen. He studies for a moment, returns - and gives the penalty!
50' Iran have kept Ronaldo rather quiet tonight but now he cuts into the opposition box, and goes down with a barge from Ezatolahi. The Portugal captain cries for a penalty but the referee waves him away.
48' Haji Safi looks to tip a low cross infield off the left wing looking for Azmoun, but Carvalho places himself in a good position to intercept and whip it back downfield for Portugal.
46' We're back underway in Saransk as Iran go seeking the two goals they will need to keep their World Cup dreams alive. Can they produce one of the comebacks of the tournament so far?
With Spain and Morocco locked at 1-1 in Kaliningrad, Portugal are currently in the driving seat in Group B as it stands. If it remains so, they will set up a tie with tournament hosts Russia while their neighbours will tangle with a resurgent Uruguay; neither will want to face the South Americans after their three wins in Group A.
A fabulous strike from Ricardo Quaresma is the difference at the break between Iran and Portugal in Saransk, the cruelest of blows to the former's dreams of reaching the World Cup knockout stages in Russia. Despite mustering less than a quarter of possession throughout, Iran looked full of energy and verve, threatening a Portugal side who lost their initial lustre as the game wore on. Another moment of individual brilliance has given them some much-needed momentum though; as it stands, they are heading through to the last 16. At half-time, it's Iran 0-1 Portugal.
45' + 2' It is rather self-explanatory as stats go, but Ricardo Quaresma is the first man aside from Ronaldo to score for Portugal at this World Cup.
Adrien Silva
45' Silva's assist was sweet but the goal was in a class of its own. Portugal have the lead they needed to assure progression. Three added minutes on the way.
Ricardo Quaresma
45' QUARESMA, MY WORD! 1-0 TO PORTUGAL! It's the breakthrough that Fernando Santos and his side needed; on the stroke of half-time, his right-winger, on his first World Cup start, cuts in off the right with an Adrien Silva pass, slips around two defenders and launches an absolute screamer off his right foot that nestles itself in the top-left corner from 18 yards. That is a cruel goal for Iran to concede.
43' Ronaldo and Ebrahimi tussle out on the left wing deep in Iran territory, with the Portugal man trying to win himself a corner to no avail.
41' Ebrahimi crosses in from the right side of the Portugal box after a free-kick, only for Pepe to head it back into open play. Quaresma sparks a counter-attack, and is the man who lofts the final cross into the Iran penalty area following a slow passage of play; he pushes it high, wide and out for a goal-kick.
40' Ronaldo from distance! It's a 35-yard effort from the Portugal captain, and a relatively straight one too, put straight to Beiranvand who stops it easily enough.
39' Iran may only have 21 percent of possession in this match so far but they've more than held their own, cutting off Portugal's forward momentum after a shaky opening.
37' Double chance for Azmoun! Both his efforts - tame ones, but efforts - are blocked in the box by Pepe and Fonte; Portugal's defence survives after some rather listless play allowed the Iranian forward in.
36' Quaresma, one of the more dynamic players for Portugal, looks to spear another corner in for Ronaldo, but Haji Safi puts a good block on to stop it. Iran have done a very good job over the last 20 minutes of restricting their opposition's attacking options.
34' After some delay, it's Ezatolahi who lands a header on the free-kick, curled in neatly - but the power behind his effort is lacking and Patricio has no trouble making the save.
Raphaël Guerreiro
Yellow Card
33' Guerreiro gets the first booking of the game as he cuts across Jahanbakhsh, trying to stop a breakaway move from Iran down the right. Jahanbakhsh will take the free-kick from 25 yards out.
32' Play resumes now with a short restart from Beiranvand and Iran play it out of their own back third, looking to slip around Portugal's midfield on the wings through Ezatolahi.
30' Fonte and Azmoun go down after coming together challenging for the corner in the box, and there is a break in play for both to get treatment.
29' Quaresma slips into the Portugal box and looks to cross from the right; he sees it deflected out for a corner instead.
27' Iran have never won their final game of the World Cup group stages, having drawn once and lost three. They have scored three and conceded 10 in these matches combined too. No goals to speak of yet though...
25' There is a delay in play for Patricio to get treatment after taking an accidental boot to the head in that save, but after play resumes, Quaresma looks to break loose down the right wing again. Iran have grown into this game defensively; they check the stride of the Portugal man and regain the ball.
23' Chance for Iran! Jahanbakhsh bears down on a wonderful throughball from Azmoun and nearly beats Patricio to it, with the keeper just bearing down on it in time to sweep it away from the approaching winger.
22' Rezaeian takes for Iran and isn't too far away either; he steers it just wide of the near-left post.
21' Haji Safi wins a free-kick off Adrien Silva 25 yards out on the left flank, and Iran have a set-piece in a dangerous position.
19' Beiranvand punches the effort away, swung in by Quaresma, and Iran survive the spell of pressure on their box.
17' The captain's free-kick is blocked by Azmoun, but Ronaldo thinks he should have a penalty for handball there. None is forthcoming and instead, Portugal get a corner.
15' Silva wins a free-kick 30 yards out on the right flank for Portugal after he is caught in mid-air by Amiri. Ronaldo will take...
13' Terrible keeping from Beiranvand! Quaresma pings in three consecutive crosses from the right wing and each time, he misses them dangerously on his own line. His defenders manage to help him clear but it's nervy at the back for Iran.
11' Good work from Pepe in the box clears an Iran free-kick floated in after a foul on Azmoun out on the left wing. Both sides have started with sparky intent in Saransk, with Mordovia Arena conjuring the atmosphere of a red-hot cauldron.
9' Joao Mario! What a chance for Portugal. Ronaldo floats a lovely cross in from the left that is cleared to the feet of his team-mate after a mix-up between Iranian keeper Beiranvand and Ezatolahi, only for the midfielder to blast it well over the crossbar. The two Iran players have a little scrap themselves after that breakdown in communication.
7' Taremi! A lovely break from Iran, formed out of a counter-attack, sees Jahanbakhsh sail down the right wing, before he cuts in to the edge of the box and squares it to the left winger whose finishing shot is poor, skewing wide by around 10 yards.
5' Andre Silva and Adrien Silva combine down the left wing with the former supplied a throughball by the latter; he is clattered by Rezaeian near the touchline but the referee signals for a goal-kick instead.
3' Ronaldo! The Real Madrid star has the first chance of the game as he cuts in off the left wing and weaves his way between three Iranian defenders before putting the ball straight to Beiranvand in goal at the near-left post.
2' Muted appeals for handball come from Portugal after Ronaldo spears the ball into the Iran penalty area from the left wing, with Pouraliganji the man singled out as the culprit. The referee sees nothing wrong however and Iran play it long, with Cedric returning the ball from his own box.
1' We're underway in this Group B clash! Iran concede an early foul as Ebrahimi lands a clumsy foul inside his own half and Portugal have a free-kick.
The anthems have concluded and we're moments away from kick-off. The referee is Enrique Cáceres of Paraguay.
The teams are out in Saransk for the national anthems.
Iran have never managed to get the better of European opposition in World Cup encounters, having failed to win in seven matches through their competition history. They have mustered a single draw among six defeats; against Scotland at Argentina 1978.
The two sides meet for the second time at the World Cup, after facing off at Germany 2006. Portugal won 2-0 thanks to goals from Deco and Ronaldo, the latter scoring what would become his first ever goal in the tournament.
One of the more intriguing subplots surrounding this clash surrounds Iran boss Queiroz, born in Mozambique to Portuguese parents and himself a two-time coach of the Portugal team, having guided them to the round of 16 in South Africa 2010 where they were knocked out by Spain. Will he be able to mastermind a defeat of his fellow countrymen in Saransk today?
Subs: Gelson Martins, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Pereira, Beto, Bruno Fernandes, Manuel Fernandes, Joao Moutinho, Mario Rui, Gonaalo Guedes, Bernardo Silva, Anthony Lopes, Ruben Dias
PORTUGAL (4-4-2): Rui Patricio; Cedric Soares, Raphael Guerreiro, Pepe, Jose Fonte; Joao Mario, Adrien Silva, Ricardo Quaresma, William Carvalho; Andre Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo
Subs: Mehdi Torabi, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Pejman Montazeri, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Ashkan Dejagah, Milad Mohammadi, Karim Ansarifard, Masoud Shojaei, Amir Abedzadeh, Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri, Saman Ghoddos
IRAN (4-5-1): Alireza Beiranvand; Ehsan Haji Safi, Majid Hosseini, Morteza Pouraliganji, Ramin Rezaeian; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Taremi, Vahid Amiri, Saeid Ezatolahi, Omid Ebrahimi; Sardar Azmoun
As for Portugal, they make three changes to the side who beat Morocco: Bernando Silva, Goncalo Guedes and Joao Moutinho are out, the latter through illness, and Adrien Silva, Andre Silva and Ricardo Quaresma come in. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored all four of his country's goals in Russia so far, will be looking to reclaim leadership of the Golden Boot standings from England's Harry Kane.
Team news now and Iran have just the one alteration to the side who pushed Spain close last time out: Alireza Jahanbakhsh comes in to replace Karim Ansarifard on the right wing. Ehsan Haji Safi has recovered from a thigh strain sustained earlier in the tournament and starts in the back four.
The permutations then, in layman's terms; a win for either Iran or Portugal will see them through, regardless of Spain's result with Morocco. The loser however can still qualify if Morocco produce an upset victory; for Portugal, they would merely need Spain to lose by a bigger margin of their own defeat, while Iran would need at least a two-goal swing against the 2010 champions next to their own goal difference. For both to go through, Spain would have to lose and lose big.
As it stands in Group B, Portugal lie second, on four points; the same amount as first-placed Spain who currently rank above thanks to fair play points. The latter face already-eliminated Morocco concurrently in Kaliningrad tonight, and are favourites to prevail, leaving the former's tie with Iran - who sit third on three points - as effectively a straight shoot-out for the final qualification berth for the knockout stages.
A draw will be enough to send Fernando Santos' side through to the round of 16 at the expense of their rivals - but can Carlos Queiroz's team produce a shock win to take them past the opening round for the first time in their history?
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia as Iran and Portugal face off in their last Group B clash for a place in the knockout stages at Mordovia Arena in Saransk.