Wales’ first World Cup for 64 years appears to be like set to finish on the first hurdle after a heartbreaking – however deserved – last-ditch defeat by Iran in Qatar.
Substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi struck from 20 yards deep into stoppage time, earlier than Ramin Rezaeian completed off a counter-attack to seal victory for a revitalised Iran facet, who’ve renewed hope of reaching the knockout levels for the primary time of their historical past.
Wales struggled to impose themselves for lengthy durations, and their hopes of victory had been dealt a heavy blow when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was despatched off with 4 minutes of regular time remaining.
As they did of their opening draw with america, Wales began poorly and had the video assistant referee (VAR) to thank for disallowing a objective from Iran’s Ali Gholizadeh for offside.
In probably the most extremely charged atmospheres of this World Cup, Iran’s players sang their national anthem this time – having declined to take action earlier than their opening loss to England in an obvious present of assist for anti-government protests of their nation – however their very own followers booed the anthem and a few could possibly be seen crying within the stands.
Roared on by the fervent and virtually fully Iranian crowd, Carlos Queiroz’s facet had been extraordinarily unfortunate to not rating early within the second half as Sardar Azmoun and Gholizadeh each struck the publish inside the area of some seconds.
Wales had been completely ragged and, as they pushed ahead in the hunt for the late profitable objective they desperately wanted, a protracted ball excessive left the defence uncovered and the onrushing Hennessey was proven a pink card – after a VAR test – for a reckless problem on Mehdi Taremi.
That set the seal on Wales’ destiny for this match and, in all chance, their hopes of reaching the second spherical.
Whereas Robert Web page’s males had been simply as disjointed as they had been in opposition to the USA, Iran had been unrecognisable from the staff thrashed 6-2 by England of their first match and absolutely deserved this win which breathes new life into their ambitions of progressing to the final 16.
Wales now face the formidable problem of needing to win their ultimate group match on Tuesday in opposition to England, who tackle america in a while Friday.
It’s not not possible however, primarily based on how the Group B groups have fared up to now in Qatar, Wales’ first World Cup for 64 years appears to be like like it’s in severe hazard of ending on the earliest stage.
Wales rue one other sloppy efficiency
Having been absent from World Cups since 1958, Wales marked their emotional and long-awaited return to soccer’s grandest stage with a 1-1 draw in opposition to america on the similar stadium on Monday.
They appeared overawed by the magnitude of that event throughout a primary half by which they had been overrun and outplayed by the USA, however had been a lot improved after the half-time introduction of Kieffer Moore.
The Bournemouth striker began this time and, whereas his presence gave Wales an added dimension in assault, they had been nonetheless as worryingly porous in midfield as they’d been in opposition to the States.
Iran sensed that weak point and pressed their opponents excessive up the pitch, prompting panic amongst Welsh midfielders and defenders, significantly on the break.
Regardless of their vulnerability by means of the center, the place Web page had caught with the identical choice, Wales regarded extra harmful after they performed with width, and it was Moore who stood to learn.
Connor Roberts discovered the 6ft 5in ahead with a fantastic cross from the fitting within the thirteenth minute and, though Moore stretched to attach with a volley, it was straight at goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini.
Roberts’ subsequent involvement three minutes later was much less distinguished as his cross-field go was lower out close to his personal penalty space and allowed Sardar Azmoun to tee up Gholizadeh to complete into an empty internet. There was no flag at first however, after a swift VAR test, the objective was disallowed for offside.
Azmoun himself headed the subsequent likelihood over as Wales struggled to come up with the sport. Fortuitously for them, as energetic and well-drilled as Iran had been, they didn’t create a lot in the best way of real scoring alternatives.
Wales gradual to make adjustments
Regardless of the clear points his facet confronted within the first half, Web page made no adjustments at half-time.
Simply as his incapacity to heed the teachings from the USA sport invited Iranian strain within the first half, Web page’s inaction on this event compelled Wales on to the again foot throughout the second half.
They had been extraordinarily lucky to not fall behind 5 minutes after the restart as Iran hit the publish twice within the area of some seconds.
First Azmoun struck a right-footed effort which cannoned off the woodwork and fell to Gholizadeh, whose curling left-footed shot hit the opposite publish. Azmoun was the primary to react however his rebound was smothered by Hennessey.
Wales had been a large number at this level, their defence harassed and given subsequent to no safety from the gamers in entrance of them.
These struggles made it not possible to assault with any cohesion, rendering Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey virtually out of date.
It was a dispiriting sight for Wales followers to observe these two greats – heroes of the previous two European Championships – lowered to peripheral figures on this event.
Wales nonetheless threw themselves ahead within the obscure hope of forcing a late winner however that desperation was their undoing when Hennessey grew to become simply the third goalkeeper to be despatched off at a World Cup, for a excessive boot on Taremi.
The day belonged to Iran, who left it late to safe the victory they well-merited.
Given an excessive amount of time by Wales’ tiring our bodies, Cheshmi unleasehd an outstanding strike from 20 yards which whistled into the underside nook to immediate wild celebrations.
Then with Wales much more uncovered, it was left to Rezaeian to use a fragile final touch as Iran surged to victory, realizing one other in opposition to the USA will safe their passage to the second spherical for the primary time of their historical past.
- 1HennesseyBooked at 86mins
- 6RodonBooked at 45mins
- 14RobertsSubstituted forJohnsonat 57′minutes
- 10RamseySubstituted forWardat 87′minutes
- 15AmpaduSubstituted forAllenat 77′minutes
- 8WilsonSubstituted forJamesat 58′minutes
- 3N Williams
- 19M Harris
- 23RezaeianBooked at 90mins
- 17GholizadehSubstituted forJahanbakhshat 77′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 6EzatolahiSubstituted forKarimiat 83′minutes
- 21NoorollahiSubstituted forCheshmiat 78′minutes
- 3HajisafiSubstituted forTorabiat 77′minutes
- 20AzmounSubstituted forAnsarifardat 68′minutes
- Mario Escobar
Reside Textual content
Match ends, Wales 0, IR Iran 2.
Second Half ends, Wales 0, IR Iran 2.
Purpose! Wales 0, IR Iran 2. Ramin Rezaeian (IR Iran) proper footed shot from the centre of the field to the centre of the objective. Assisted by Mehdi Taremi following a quick break.
Purpose! Wales 0, IR Iran 1. Roozbeh Cheshmi (IR Iran) proper footed shot from exterior the field to the underside proper nook.
Try blocked. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran) proper footed shot from exterior the field is blocked. Assisted by Morteza Pouraliganji.
Try blocked. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran) proper footed shot from exterior the field is blocked. Assisted by Mehdi Torabi.
Try blocked. Ramin Rezaeian (IR Iran) proper footed shot from exterior the field is blocked. Assisted by Mehdi Taremi.
Try missed. Brennan Johnson (Wales) proper footed shot from a tough angle on the fitting is shut, however misses to the fitting. Assisted by Neco Williams.
Try missed. Neco Williams (Wales) proper footed shot from exterior the field misses to the fitting.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran) is proven the yellow card for a foul foul.
Chris Mepham (Wales) wins a free kick within the defensive half.
Foul by Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran).
Ramin Rezaeian (IR Iran) is proven the yellow card.
Dan James (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ali Karimi (IR Iran).
Offside, IR Iran. Alireza Jahanbakhsh tries a by means of ball, however Karim Ansarifard is caught offside.
Kieffer Moore (Wales) wins a free kick within the defensive half.
Foul by Majid Hosseini (IR Iran).
Try missed. Mehdi Torabi (IR Iran) proper footed shot from exterior the field is excessive and huge to the fitting. Assisted by Karim Ansarifard.
Try missed. Karim Ansarifard (IR Iran) proper footed shot from exterior the field misses to the left. Assisted by Mehdi Taremi.
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