Iran will need to pull off another surprise if they're to get a result against Spain on Wednesday and maintain their place atop Group B at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The two teams are set to clash at the Kazan Arena, and Spain unexpectedly enter the fray trailing Carlos Queiroz's men by two points following their 3-3 draw against Portugal on Friday.
Iran were less convincing but ultimately more effective in their 1-0 win over Morocco, when Aziz Bouhaddouz headed the ball in his own net to gift Queiroz's side a most unlikely winner.
But the underdogs won't be able to rely on the same tricks against the 2010 world champions.
Read on for a preview of Wednesday's group-stage meeting, complete with all the latest team news, fixture details and live-stream information.
Date: Wednesday, June 20
Time: 9 p.m. local time/7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
Venue: Kazan Arena, Kazan
TV Info: ITV (UK)/Fox (U.S.)
Spain have the only significant piece of team news entering the midweek meeting with Iran after it emerged Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal will likely be fit to feature in his first match of the World Cup.
Spanish news agency EFE (h/t Sport) reported the right-back could come into the starting XI at the expense of Nacho, who scored against Portugal, and AS posted photos of Carvajal back in training:
It seems as though any Iran changes will be purely tactical for Queiroz with no enforced absences. Alireza Jahanbakhsh and and midfielder Omid Ebrahimi have both shaken off knocks from the first match and are in contention.
Spain's World Cup campaign could have spiraled after Fernando Hierro replaced Julen Lopetegui as manager two days before their tournament. The latter accepted the managerial job at Real Madrid and the Spanish FA promptly sacked him.
But the draw with Portugal, while not perfect, was a promising enough start to Hierro's tenure in the role and their World Cup overall.
There were highs and lows against Portugal, not least of which was David De Gea's error to allow one of Cristiano Ronaldo's three goals, but Hierro was unwavering in his support for his No. 1, per writer David Cartlidge:
That's the kind of forthright attitude Spanish fans will want from their tactician, while Iran will also seek more of the same from their chief Queiroz, whose patient approach paid dividends against Morocco.
It won't necessarily suffice against La Furia Roja, however, as they are an opponent who will not only be tougher to break down but will also test their defence a lot more, per Squawka:
Iran allowed Morocco 13 shots at goal in their clash, and one can bank on Spain being a lot more clinical than their Group B peers in Kazan, and they'll be more wary of being caught out this time around, too.
On the flip side, if the odds continue to be upset in Russia, an almost impossible-seeming win over Spain could seal Iran's spot in the round of 16, although even a point would feel like a dream result.