World Cup: Iran 1 Portugal 1 - 5 things you need to know

Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal in action against Ehsan Haji Safi of Iran during the FIifa World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Iran and Portugal at Mordovia Arena Saransk, in Saransk, Russia, on June 25, 2018.
Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal in action against Ehsan Haji Safi of Iran during the FIifa World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Iran and Portugal at Mordovia Arena Saransk, in Saransk, Russia, on June 25, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Group B concluded on a night of tension as Iran drew 1-1 with Portugal in a tight affair in Saransk. Carlos Queiroz needed to inspire Team Melli to defeat his homeland and while Iran stood up with a battling show, it was a moment of brilliance from Ricardo Quaresma that gave Fernando Santos' team the lead. Karim Ansarifard scored a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time but it was too late to mount a rescue.

1. The goals

Iran (Karim Ansarifard 90th penalty) Portugal (Ricardo Quaresma 45th)

2. The wow moment

Iran has now rightly earned a deserved reputation as one of the best organised defences in world football and they put up a real barricade against Portugal. Queiroz has drilled his men to anticipate where the danger will come from but there was nothing Iran could do to stop Quaresma from dancing his way into the box before swerving the ball home with the outside of his right boot to win the game. What technique.

3. The talking point

What a night of bitter irony for Iran. They enhanced their reputation as a very tough team to beat with a superb defensive showing but they still bow out of the World Cup. Gone are the days when a group stage exit is good enough. Queiroz has got his men to dig deeper and aim higher. They want to taste victory over the big nations and having never beaten an European side at the World Cup, this remains a hoodoo they want to break. But they will have to wait four more years to have another chance.

4. The star

We have heard lots of rags to riches stories in football but Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand's rise from being homeless to the World Cup is nothing short of epic. He ran away from his home in Sarabias, the son of a sheepherder, to try to turn professional in Tehran. He slept at the stadium, worked in a pizza parlour, car wash, dressmaking factory and as a street cleaner to make ends meet. But he never gave up and eventually became Iran's first-choice goalkeeper. After a nervous start against Portugal, Beiranvand pulled off a series of good saves with the best of the lot being the penalty stop against Cristiano Ronaldo.

5. What the result means

Portugal are through to the last 16 as Group B runner-up to meet Group A winner Uruguay. Santos' team are now reproducing their gritty form of 2016 that won them the European Championship. As for Iran, they leave Russia with their heads held high. Their tactical discipline is outstanding and the next target is for them is to polish their finishing and make an even bigger impact at the next major tournament.