David de Gea claimed his first clean sheet of the World Cup in Spain’s 1-0 win over Iran but had to rely on video assistant referee technology to save his skin in the second half.
The Spaniards predictably dominated the ball but found creating openings hard against a well drilled, defensively minded Iran side, going ahead eventually through a lucky Diego Costa goal.
Iran appeared to draw level after Saeid Ezatolahi’s strike slipped under De Gea, who could have done much better keeping it out, only for VAR – 1 minute and 47 seconds later – cruelly but fairly ruled out the goal for offside.
Taking to social media after the game, De Gea came out with a simple but true message: “No victory without suffering.”
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) June 20, 2018
The knives would have really been out for De Gea had VAR not intervened last night. It was another lapse between the sticks for Spain that simply wouldn’t happen at Old Trafford for De Gea, who let a powerful yet saveable shot slip under him and nearly place his World Cup campaign in jeopardy.
De Gea bemoaned the level of derision sent his way following the Portugal game. But it could have intensified tenfold last night, placing his very place in the team in jeopardy and, perhaps worse, creating a whirlwind around the Spain camp that would take a toll on their preparations.