Iran late show breaks 10-man Wales as Gareth Bale struggles


DOHA, Qatar –Iran saved their hopes of qualification for the World Cup spherical of 16 alive by scoring twice within the closing 11 minutes of stoppage time to beat Wales 2-0 and throw Group B huge open.

After Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was despatched off within the 86th minute for a foul on Mehdi Taremi exterior the field, Rob Page’s workforce have been overrun by the Iranians, who scored by way of Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian. Iran had earlier hit the publish twice in a dominant efficiency and completely deserved their late win.

Iran’s victory (3 factors) implies that they will go into Tuesday’s closing group recreation towards the United States (1) understanding {that a} win will take them into the knockout levels; Wales (1) now must beat England (3) on Tuesday to have any hope of reaching the spherical of 16.

Meanwhile, the US will probably must beat Iran of their closing recreation on Thursday to stay within the match if they can not spring a shock towards England first.

– World Cup 2022: News and options | Schedule | Squads

JUMP TO: Player ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Postmatch quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid Reaction

1. Hennessey pink expensive as Iran strike late

Wales keeper Hennessey earned himself the doubtful distinction of turning into the primary participant to be despatched off at Qatar 2022 and did so with a foul that earned comparisons with one of the crucial notorious moments in World Cup historical past.

The 35-year-old was initially proven a yellow card by Guatemalan referee Mario Escobar after racing out of his penalty space earlier than colliding with Iran ahead Taremi, however it was the definition of a transparent and apparent error by the official.

The VAR official, Canadian Drew Fischer, known as a evaluate, and Escobar rescinded the yellow card and issued a pink as an alternative.

It was an inexplicable determination by Hennessey to race out of his space and was a transparent pink card, so harmful was his problem, which was a excessive foot that caught Taremi within the chest.

The foul introduced again photographs of West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher’s foul on France’s Patrick Battiston through the 1982 World Cup semifinal. Battiston suffered broken vertebrae within the incident, however Schumacher was not even booked.

Hennessey’s pink card proved massively expensive for Wales who, right down to 10 males, conceded stoppage time objectives to Cheshmi and Rezaeian. But Iran have been a lot the higher facet all through — hitting the publish twice inside a nine-second spell — and deserved their victory, which retains their hopes alive and leaves Wales needing to beat England to have any probability of reaching the second spherical.

2. Iran anthem protests ship a message

The political scenario in Iran and the continued protests towards the ruling regime after the dying of Mahsa Amini in September have accompanied the nation’s soccer workforce each step of the way in which in Qatar, and it was the identical towards Wales.

With coach Carlos Queiroz’s gamers all bravely refusing to sing the nationwide anthem earlier than the 6-2 defeat towards England within the opening recreation, the squad have been proven solely mumbling the phrases forward of the Wales conflict in a half-hearted method. Some of the gamers as soon as once more selected to not sing the anthem, lower than 24 hours after former participant Voria Ghafouri was arrested for “insulting the national football team and propagandising against the government.”

Whether the Iran gamers had been positioned below strain to sing the anthem by the regime just isn’t recognized, however the response of the Iranian followers inside the bottom was one other rebuke to the Tehran authorities.

While the Wales followers sang their very own anthem loudly, many Iranians whistled and jeers theirs. One fan was proven crying on the large screens within the stadium, whereas supporters applauded when photographs of Iranian ladies have been displayed on the finish of the anthem.

Outside the stadium, pro-government supporters clashed with these towards the regime, whereas inside, one feminine supporter was pictured having her Iran shirt bearing Amini’s name confiscated by safety.

Whatever occurs to Iran on the pitch at this World Cup, their gamers and supporters have despatched extremely highly effective photographs to the remainder of the world to spotlight the scenario of their nation.

And having claimed such a dramatic victory on this recreation, Iran’s story might but proceed into the knockout levels. For that to occur, they need to beat the US on Tuesday in what will likely be one other extremely charged recreation.

3. Bale placing it all of the desk for Wales

Gareth Bale has made it clear that taking part in for Wales within the World Cup is the head of his profession, regardless of having gained 5 Champions League medals with Real Madrid, and the 33-year-old goes above and past for his nation in Qatar.

His look towards Iran, which made him the most-capped male Welsh participant of all time with 110, was his second 90 minutes within the area of 4 days, and, for Bale, that could be a massive deal.

He did not handle even one 90-minute outing throughout his six-month stint at MLS facet LAFC this season and hasn’t had a full recreation at membership stage since taking part in for Tottenham towards Wycombe in January 2021.

Bale has to handle his time on the pitch as a result of health points which have affected the later levels of his profession, so taking part in three group video games in 9 days in Qatar was all the time going to be a problem for a participant who final performed successive 90 minutes for Wales in World Cup qualifiers towards Belarus and Estonia in September 2021.

He did little within the opening recreation towards the US earlier than scoring his essential penalty equaliser, then did even much less towards Iran, touching the ball simply 19 occasions within the opening hour of the sport.

Bale has by no means denied that he would possibly retire on the finish of this World Cup, so Tuesday’s recreation towards England may very well be the top of the highway for one of many largest stars within the recreation.

But Bale does soccer fairy tales like few others — bear in mind his stoppage time winner for LAFC within the MLS Cup closing — so a 3rd straight recreation towards outdated rivals England would possibly simply be the right manner, to not end his profession however to make sure it has no less than yet another recreation after that.

Player scores

Wales: Hennessey 5; Mepham 6, Rodon 5, Davies 6; Roberts 6, Ramsey 5, Ampadu 6, Wilson 5, Williams 6; Moore 6, Bale 5.

Subs: Johnson 6, James 7, Allen 6, Ward 6.

Iran: H Hosseini 7; Rezaeian 6, Pouraliganji 7, M Hosseini 6, Mohammadi 6; Gholizadeh 7, Noorollahi 6, Ezatolahi 7, Hajsafi 6; Azmoun 8, Taremi 7.

Subs: Ansarifard 6, Torabi 6, Jahanbakhsh 6, Chesmi 6



Mark Ogden explains why Wales’ probability of qualification is slim after their 2-0 loss towards Iran and the way Gareth Bale’s worldwide profession is near ending.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Sardar Azmoun

The Iran ahead was a continuing menace to Wales, and his tempo and motion troubled the again three of Joe Rodon, Ben Davies and Chris Mepham all through the sport. So unfortunate to see his second-half shot hit the publish.

WORST: Aaron Ramsey

The Nice midfielder is barely marginally behind Bale by way of his legendary standing with Wales, however whereas Bale all the time exhibits up, Ramsey can too typically reside off his popularity, and this was a recreation when he simply did not contribute as anticipated and required.

Highlights and notable moments

Wayne Hennessey was despatched off after the referee headed to the video replay display screen, having initially given him solely a yellow card for this problem.

Iran then struck late to seal a well-known win.

After the match: What the gamers and managers stated

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz: “Two points. We played today with amazing character, which is the profile of our team. We play with a sense of unity, cohesion. After the first game we need to get back on route. The second point was to get rid of this bad feeling of bleeding. Football is a game of different moments. It’s not because you win or lose. Sometimes you lose your dignity, your honour, but of course in our first game we were bleeding in our pride. This was an opportunity to rebound. We put a good scarf [bandage] to stop the bleeding. We played brilliantly and deserved to win.”

Iran midfielder Rouzbeh Cheshmi: “In the first game, there was great pressure on the group and team, which is why we couldn’t get the result we needed against England. This time we were ready and able to win. This is because of the solidarity among the team members that we could achieve this result.

“I ought to say that if the pressures are football-related, it’s acceptable, you’ve good and unhealthy days, but when strain is on us unfairly, that may not be proper. Certain issues occurred that weren’t fairly honest; we acquired non-football pressures, and the whole household of the workforce helped one another. I scored, however the workforce did the work.”

Wales manager Rob Page: “Our efficiency earlier than the pink card was not acceptable. We hoped it could all come collectively right now, however we have been nowhere close to the degrees we have set and the requirements we have set in latest video games. One or two you may carry, however when there are such a lot of off days, there is just one end result.

“I always take responsibility, that’s my team, the sending off didn’t help of course, but at that point we had five forwards on the pitch so couldn’t get a defensive shape. But yes, I’ll always take responsibility for performances. It’s a difficult changing room at the minute, but we will be ready [against England]; it’s a local derby and a great game to finish on, and we’ll be prepared to go.”

Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Information)

– The previous 5 World Cup video games have been scoreless at half-time. The most up-to-date first-half purpose was by Michy Batshuayi for Belgium on Wednesday.

– Bale made simply 19 touches within the first hour, the bottom tally for Wales.,

– Hennessey is the primary goalkeeper to be despatched off on the World Cup since South Africa’s Itumeleng Khune in 2010 vs. Uruguay.

– Iran are the primary workforce to win a World Cup match when tied at time of opponent’s ejection since Japan defeated Colombia 2-1 after Carlos Sanchez’s pink card in 2018.

– At 90’+8, Cheshmi’s purpose is the newest regulation recreation winner in World Cup historical past.

Up subsequent

Wales: An enormous recreation towards England on Tuesday at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, 10 p.m. native time and a pair of p.m. ET. Anything lower than a win for Wales they usually’re out.

Iran: An equally large recreation, given the political scenario between the 2 nations, as they face the United States on Tuesday at Al Thumama Stadium, 10 p.m. native time and a pair of p.m. ET. It may very well be a straight knockout for who qualifies.


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