It is a campaign that represents more than the right to watch football: it challenges ingrained attitudes in Iranian society, challenges the exclusion of women from public spaces, exposes the viciousness with which the state and religious institutes and their representatives will clamp down on change and it acts as a beacon to other movements and campaigns emerging in the country. The government and FA are so resistant to making concessions because they do not want to embolden campaigners to fight for further changes or allow them to broaden the conversation. It is also a movement that highlights the power of football. Some will undoubtedly say we should welcome and cheerlead even the smallest steps in the right direction. If the Iranian government and FA are unwilling to at least drop charges against those who have fallen foul of the outdated ban that is not law but crept in as the political Islam of Ayatollah Khomeini took control of the revolution which birthed the Islamic Republic of Iranthen no goodwill should be afforded them.
The ball seems destined for the back of the net, but the leg of Ehsan Haji Safi deflects the shot just wide of the net! What a chance for Spain! Andres Cunha immediately approaches the goalie and warns him that he will not allow for any more time wasting.
It would not be entirely surprising if we saw a yellow card come out soon for Beiranvand at some point this game.
The teams have switch ends and it is now the Spaniards who will attack the goal located on the right end of the field. Neither side made a change at the break so we go on with the same 22 players that started the match.
What a statement by Iran! Spain are clearly frustrated after that opening half full of chances left and right, however Team Melli's defense stood firm to turn away every opportunity created by La Furia Roja.
The underdogs will look to continue this performance, but the skill present on Spain's team seems like it will overwhelm them at some point or another. Spain, on the other hand, must keep up the pressure they asserted during the first 45 minutes, while at the same time being aware of Iran's intentions to counter attack at any occasion given.
What a game it has been so far, will the second half be just as entertaining? Silva's shot takes a crazy deflection that initially seems to send directly into the upper left corner of the net, however it barely misses the far post giving Ali Beiranvand a goal kick.
Silva takes his time to turn and fire, however two Iranian defenders close him down and in the end it is Saeid Ezatolahi who sacrifices his body to block the attempt.
Hopefully he will be able to continue on as the left back has been an absolute anchor for the Persian Lions thus far.
He leads Team Melli's first attack in quite some time and tries to pick out his teammates in the area, however his pass is cut out by Sergio Ramos who heads it out granting Iran their first corner of the game. Silva then attempts an acrobatic leaping volley, however his effort is slightly mishit which results in the ball flying out of bounds several feet above the crossbar.
The typical tika-taka style of passing has not been put on display quite yet though, so anything is possible. David Silva takes another free kick, although this time the midfielder seeks to place it on frame.
The shot takes a wicked deflection, but Beiranvand reads it and makes a vital save at the near post to keep this game scoreless. The shot takes a very fortunate deflection for Iran which allows Ali Beiranvand ample time to locate the redirection to catch it before it bounced out for a corner kick.
The left footed inswinger is struck with real venom, however the Iranian defense is in position and the effort is blocked out of the area by Majid Hosseini. The cross hangs in the air for just a moment too long, though, allowing Ali Beiranvand time to charge out to claim the pass.
Sergio Ramos jumps up to head the ball back across the face of goal, however no one in the Iranian back line is fooled and the ball is easily cleared away from danger.
The ball is threaded through the mess of bodies in front and makes it to Diego Costa who attempts a flicked header at the far post, however the ball skims off the back of his head sending it well wide of the target and out for a throw in. A dangerous set piece taken by Ehsan Haji Safi will follow.
The ball floats to the left post and is met by a leaping Ali Beiranvand who delivers a firm punch to the ball as he collides with one of his defenders.
The opening kick is taken and the Iranians immediately pulled back well within their own half in a clear defensive position. They'll hope to tread water for much of the match and then hit the Spanish on the break if at all possible.
Iran attack from left to right to open the match in their all red kit, while Spain wear a beautiful light greyish blue kit. The stadium, located roughly miles directly east of Moscow, is perched on the banks of the Kazanka River and was constructed to resemble a waterlily.
The arena will go on to hold four more games in the World Cup including Poland vs. Colombia, South Korea vs. In his stead the federation installed Fernando Hierro and while the opening match was not perfect against their Iberian Peninsula rivals Portugal, many still believe that this Spanish team has what it takes to make a run deep into the tournament.
Diego Costa particularly impressed during his 77 minutes of play as he netted goals in both the first and second half, not to mention his constant pestering of the Portuguese center back pairing of Pepe and Jose Fonte.
Team Melli's win marked the first time an Asian country had taken the maximum amount of points in a World Cup game since Japan defeated Denmark in South Africa.
Can the AFC darlings who went undefeated throughout qualification continue their Cinderella tale tonight against the World Cup Champions?
What is sure to be an energetic match will get underway in approximately an hour, so let examine these two countries' first game and tonight's starting lineups.