Iran - World Cup - 15 June 2018

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Chances were at a premium after the break, with both sides keeping their shape well, but a sweetly-struck effort from Morocco's Hakim Ziyech brought out a fine save from Beiranvand.

He said: "Iran coach Carlos Queiroz is not exactly known for attacking football and Morocco also play in quite a pragmatic style".

Both Morocco and Iran impressed in qualifying with Morocco only conceding one goal in their eight games, while Iran remained unbeaten and only let in five goals in their 18 qualifying matches. With Spain and Portugal to come, winning here is the only chance either side has of reaching the last 16.

Despite the 11 a.m. ET kick off, Iranian supporters gathered in bars, restaurants and homes around the U.S.to follow the action. First to go was Morocco's Nordin Amrabat who was caught by an accidental shoulder from Iran's Ehsan Hajsafi in the 75th minute.

"Morocco are a great team with great players and they are one of the favourites to move through to the second round, alongside Portugal and Spain". Despite having a poor record at previous World Cups, the African side will be looking to perform at their highest level this year.

It was Iran's second win in 13 matches at the World Cup, and Asia's first since the 2010 tournament in South Africa. The latter's left-footed shot was blocked before the rebound fell to Younes Belhanda, whose shot from the right was defused by goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand.

On the field, Iran quickly seemed overmatched and overawed.

Iran might have some staying power at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Despite playing well, Morocco and Egypt both conceded late goals to finish Friday without any point. Morocco goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi intervened with a brilliant double save to deny Sardar Azmoun and another Eredivisie star Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Morocco started brilliantly, hounding Iran's every touch and swarming forward with such ferocity that on the line, Queiroz spent most of the opening 20 minutes urging his players to pause, and take a breath.

Iran won just their second match at the World Cup (drew three, lost eight), with this their first since beating U.S. in June 1998.

It was Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz who scored the heartbreaking own goal in the fifth minute of injury time.

Previous meetings: The sides have never met before in official competition.

Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers Hervé Renard or Carlos Queiroz? Fatigue and a number of stoppages meant that the intensity of the second half didn't match the first.

After a 20-year absence from the World Cup, Friday's game against the Iranians marks Morocco's return to the global showpiece.

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