Special RT World Cup host Peter Schmeichel has given his expert analysis on a highly-charged encounter between Spain and Iran at Kazan Arena, which was decided by a dubious Diego Costa goal.
Spain drew level with Portugal at the top of Group B on four points each, while ‘Team Melli’ stay third on three points and needing a win against Portugal in their final game to qualify.
Schmeichel was quick to laud Iran’s tactical discipline in a 6-3-1 formation, which saw even star forward man Sardar Azmoun even dropping back to midfield to support, but equally commended striker Costa, who fortuitously found the net when the ball ricocheted off him and into the net.
Iran thought they had drawn level when Saeid Ezatolahi's rifled home after the ball fell to him following a set piece, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Replays showed it was the right decision.
“Scrappy yes and very very exciting in the last 15 minutes,” Schmeichel said of the game. “Iran actually had the ball in the net and we all thought that they’d scored but the linesman he gave offside and it was taken to a VAR decision and it was the correct decision.
“Spain are probably the best team in this tournament and they played the game the way they had to do it and came away with the three points which puts them firmly back in control of this group.
“It hits Diego Costa’s knee, he knows nothing about it and it goes in and Diego Costa now has three goals in this tournament. He knew nothing about it but he was in the right place at the right time and this is what good strikers do.”
“I have to commend Spain for their patience and they just kept on playing and plucked away as we say in football and eventually it paid dividends. Yes, it was a stroke of luck that it hit Diego Costa’s knee but it’s a goal and it’s enough. And then they just ran the clock down and they did it perfectly."
As part of the latest episode of RT’s The Peter Schmeichel Show, the former Man United and Denmark great spoke to Johannes Holzmuller, head of FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation, to discuss the finer points of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. There was no shortage of praise from Peter about the system in Kazan on Wednesday night.
“The flag goes up, Iran are celebrating the goal, the referee is a little bit unsure on why he gave offside because initially we didn’t spot it, initially we didn't see that he had hit his own player and came back, so it was taken to VAR and the VAR system rightly said that it was offside. So the linesman and the referee and VAR got it perfectly right,” he said.