Wales’ first World Cup in 64 years looks set to end at the first hurdle after a heartbreaking – but deserved – last-minute defeat by Iran in Qatar.
Substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi shot from 20 yards deep into stoppage time before Ramin Rezaian scored a counterattack to seal the victory for the revived Iranian side and hopes of reaching the knockout stage for the first time in history. was renewed.
Wales struggled to impose themselves for a long time and their winning hopes were hit hard when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy was sent off with four minutes remaining in normal time.
As in their first draw with the United States, Wales got off to a poor start and Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had to thank Iran’s Ali Ghorizadeh for disallowing an offside goal.
In the most exciting atmosphere of this World Cup, Iranian players sing national anthem This time, in a clear show of support for anti-government protests in the UK, they declined to do so before their opening loss to England, but their own fans booed the national anthem and cried in the stands. Some people were
Shouted at by an enthusiastic, almost all-Iranian crowd, Carlos Queiroz’s side were very unlucky not to score early in the second half.
Wales were completely ragged and as they pushed forward for the winning goal in the second half they desperately needed, a long ball over the top exposed the defense and a hasty Hennessy VAR checked for a reckless challenge. After that, I was shown a red card at Medhi Taremi.
It sealed Wales’ fate in the match and perhaps cemented their hopes of reaching the second round.
Robert Page’s side were as disjointed as against the United States, but failing to recognize Iran after being beaten 6-2 by England in their opening match breathes new life into their ambitions of reaching the last 16. This victory was totally deserved.
Wales now face a formidable challenge with their final group match against England on Tuesday and the United States on Friday.
It’s not impossible, but given the Group B team’s record so far in Qatar, Wales’ first World Cup in 64 years looks to be in serious danger of ending early.
Wales regret another sloppy performance
After missing the World Cup since 1958, Wales returned to an emotional and long-awaited return to football’s greatest stage on Monday, drawing 1-1 with the United States on the same stage.
They seemed overwhelmed in the first half by the sheer size of the opportunity, overwhelmed and overwhelmed by America, but improved significantly after the introduction of Kiefer Moore at halftime.
This time the Bournemouth striker was in the starting line-up and although his presence added an attacking dimension to Wales, Wales were just as worryingly hollow in midfield as they were against the United States.
Iran sensed their weakness and forced their opponents high on the pitch, causing panic among the Welsh midfielders and defenders.
Despite their vulnerability in midfield with Paige stuck with the same choice, Wales looked more dangerous playing wide and it was Moore who benefited.
Conor Roberts found 6’5″ ahead with a great cross from the right in the 13th minute.
Roberts’ next involvement three minutes later was less noticeable as his crossfield pass was cut near his own penalty area, allowing Sardar Azmon to tee up Golizadeh and enter the empty net. Initially unflagged, the goal was disallowed for offside after a quick VAR check.
As Wales struggled to take control of the match, Azmon himself looked for his next chance. Luckily for them, despite being as energetic and well-trained as Iran, they didn’t create many real scoring chances.
Wales slow to make changes
Despite the obvious problems his team faced in the first half, Page made no changes at half-time.
Paige’s inaction on this occasion set Wales back in the second half, just as their failure to heed the lessons from the American game led to Iran’s pressure in the first half.
They were very lucky that they didn’t fall behind five minutes after the restart when Iran hit the post twice within seconds.
First, Azmon fired a right-footed shot that knocked Woodwork off and fell him to Gorizadeh. Azmon was the first to react, but his rebound was held back by Hennessy.
Wales were in disarray at this point, the defense harassed and given little protection from the players in front of them.
These struggles made it impossible to unite and attack, rendering Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey all but obsolete.
For Welsh fans, it was a disappointing sight to see these two greats, heroes of the past two European Championships, being downed by the people around them for this occasion.
Wales came forward with vague hopes of forcing a second-half winner, but that desperation came when Hennessy became the third goalkeeper to be sent off for Taremi’s high boots at the World Cup. was their ruin.
The day belonged to Iran, who left late to secure a well-deserved victory.
Given too much time for Welsh’s weary bodies, Ceshmi delivered a spectacular strike from 20 yards which whistled into the bottom corner and sparked a fierce celebration.
Then, with Wales in more danger, it was left to put the delicate finishing touches on Rezaian when Iran emerged victorious. We knew that another game against the United States would secure passage to the second round for the first time in history.
- 1HennessyBook in 86 minutes
- 6RodonBook in 45 minutes
- 14RobertssubstituteJohnsonand 57′minute
- TenRamseysubstituteWardand 87′minute
- 15AmpadusubstituteAllenand 77′minute
- 8Wilsonsubstitutejamesand 58′minute
- 3N. Williams
- 19M. Harris
- twenty oneDavis
- twenty twothomas
- twenty threeLevitt
- twenty fourKavango
- twenty fiveColwill
- twenty fourHosseini
- twenty threeRezae-anBook in 90 minutes
- 17GolzadehsubstituteJahan Bahushand 77′minuteBook in 90 minutes
- 6EzatrahisubstituteKarimiand 83′minute
- twenty onenoorolahisubstituteCesmiand 78′minute
- 3Haji SafisubstituteTrabiand 77′minute
- 20AzmonsubstituteAnsariferdand 68′minute
- 7Jahan Bahush
- twenty twoAbezadeh
- twenty fiveJalali
- Mario Escobar
Game over, Wales 0, IR Iran 2.
Second half over, Wales 0, IR Iran 2.
goal! Wales 0, IR Iran 2. Ramin Rezaian (IR Iran) shoots from the middle of the box into the middle of the goal with his right foot. After a quick break, Mehdi Taremi assists.
goal! Wales 0, IR Iran 1. Roozbeh Cheshmi (IR Iran) has a right footed shot from outside the box.
Attempt blocked. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran) Blocked a right-footed shot from outside the box. Assist for Morteza Pooral Gandhi.
Attempt blocked. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran) Blocked a right-footed shot from outside the box. Assist for Medhi Trabi.
Attempt blocked. Ramin Rezaian (IR Iran) blocked a right-footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Mehdi Taremi.
I failed. Brennan Johnson’s (Wales) shot from a difficult angle with his right foot closes in but misses to the right. Assisted by Neko Williams.
I failed. Neco His Williams (Wales) shot with his right foot from outside the box, but he went wide.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran) was shown a yellow card for a bad foul.
Chris Mepham (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alireza Jahanbakhsh (IR Iran).
Ramin Rezaian (IR Iran) was shown a yellow card.
Dan James (Wales) scores a free kick on the left.
Foul by Ali Karimi (IR Iran).
Offside, IR Iran. Alireza Jahanbakhsh tries a through ball but Karim Ansarifard is caught offside.
Kiefer Moore (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Majid Hosseini (IR Iran).
I failed. Medea Torabi (IR Iran) fired a right-footed shot from outside the box that went high and wide to the right. Assist for Karim Ansarifard.
I failed. Karim Ansarifard (IR Iran) fired a right-footed shot from outside the box, but it went wide. Assisted by Mehdi Taremi.
Get your daily dose of FIFA World Cup reactions, debates and analysis world cup daily with BBC sound