Iran vs Portugal Match Analysis and Player Ratings:
|Image from the Guardian|
Portugal were close to exiting the World Cup early after Iran almost gave them a shock game as they equalised late on after Ricardo Quaresma put the European Champions ahead at the end of the first half. Now Portugal will face Uruguay in the Round of Sixteen as their World Cup dream has been made more difficult. Portugal made three changes to the lineup that narrowly beat Morocco with Bernardo Silva, Goncalo Guedes and Joao Moutinho all making way for Quaresma, Andre Silva and Adrien Silva as the lineup read:
Patricio, Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Carvalho, Silva, Mario, Quaresma, Silva, Ronaldo (c)
The first half was one of very few chances but a grisly one with a lot of hard and heavy challenges from both sides. Chances did come Portugal’s way as a big error between the goalkeeper and Ezatolahi gifted Joao Mario a chance to shoot but the West Ham loanee blazed it over the bar and the Iranian ‘keeper shouted at his defender angrily. Beiranvand made a huge error by allowing the ball to slip through his fingers from a standard cross but there was no one to pounce on the error. Guerreiro was targeted against Morocco and was done so again and was equally as poor and got booked early on. At last, the deadlock was broken and it was a stunning piece of skill from Ricardo Quaresma who curled an outside-of-the-boot shot from just outside the box and beat Bieranvand to score his first World Cup goal and the first of this tournament not scored by Ronaldo. Iran looked heartbroken but there would still be another half for Iran to come back from.
The second half started with both sides playing positively as Portugal aimed to cement the top place of Group B and Iran aimed to stay at the World Cup. However, the Middle Eastern side gifted Portugal with a chance to basically seal the game after VAR intervened with the referee’s decision and forced the penalty to be awarded to Portugal and Ronaldo stepped up in an attempt to claim his fifth goal of the tournament. However the shot was very poor and Bieranvand saved the shot comfortably and lifted Iranian spirits. Portugal controlled the game but Iran tried to claim a hattrick of penalties which were denied by both the referee and VAR. VAR had to intervene with a brace of bad challenges and potential red cards for Quaresma and Ronaldo. The former was never going to be a red card despite the exclamations from Mark Lawrenson and the latter took a very long time to check as the captain elbowed Pouraliganji but was too soft for a red and he was given a yellow card. Iran after four times of asking, were given a penalty with four minutes of added time to play as VAR granted it to them. It was harsh and perhaps should not have been given, but it was dispatched very well and gave Iran a chance to seal the win with Taremi but it rippled the side netting. A poor game with heated moments and a late dramatic turn as Portugal retained second place and qualified behind Spain on goal difference.
Rui Patricio (7) – Good game and could do nothing about the penalty
Cedric Soares (6) – Unlucky to give away a penalty but did not do much else
Pepe (7) – Solid effort and an anchor at the back
Jose Fonte (6.5) – Good as well
Raphael Guerreiro (5) – Got caught out and will be a weakness for better teams.
William Carvalho (6) – Decent but not outstanding
Adrien Silva (6) – Average as well
Joao Mario (5) – Should have hit the target early on and did not do much else
Ricardo Quaresma (7.5) – Scored the opening goal and a good one too. Classy performance
Andre Silva (5) – Did not do much of note and needs to work well with the captain and learn from him
Cristiano Ronaldo (4) – His worst game so far, no doubt he will pick himself up and keep going
MAN OF THE MATCH: RICARDO QUARESMA