Wales seeks to squeeze its options against hurt Iran

Gareth Bale and company compete for second place in the group to dream of the round of 16, with an Iran that suffered a painful defeat


The Welsh team will face Iran this Friday (11:00 am) on the second day of the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar, with the intention of making good their first draw and speeding up their chances of being in the round of 16, at least as second, with a victory, against an Iranian team that arrives hurt by the painful defeat suffered against England in their World Cup debut.

Wales managed to scratch a point in their World Cup debut 64 years later against the United States, with a goal from their star Gareth Bale, after a first half dominated by the stars and stripes. Timothy Weah put the Americans ahead, but they were unable to finish off their work before the break. As usual in recent major tournaments, the ‘Red Dragons’ knew how to resist and entrusted themselves, once again, to the former Real Madrid.

The ‘Cardiff Express’, 33, faces what could be his first and only World Cup, still with a decisive role -Wales’ all-time top scorer (40), scorer of his team’s first goal at a EURO (2016) and who scored in the playoffs to go to Qatar-. For this reason, he is seen, for the moment, very participatory and committed to his selection, aware that he is the main asset of the Welsh team to advance to the playoffs. In addition, he will become the Welsh international with the most caps (110).

“It’s an incredible achievement and an honor to represent my country so many times. But it’s more important that we try to win tomorrow. Hopefully we can do it and make that record even more special,” Bale commented on the mark he will reach this Friday.

This Friday’s match seems key for Wales to maintain their chances of qualifying for the round of 16, since a defeat would minimize their chances, looking askance at England-United States. The team coached by Rob Page, who will be able to count on Joe Allen, will have to offer more football to win again in a World Cup, as they did in their only previous participation in 1958. In addition, they will seek to end the bad dynamic of six duels without winning (2 draws and four losses).

Opposite will be an Iran that suffered its worst defeat (6-2) in a World Cup against England, one of the favorites to fight for the trophy. The Asian team was much inferior during the ninety minutes, and could only smile with a brace from Porto striker Mehdi Taremi. Carlos Queiroz’s men did not show that defensive strength that characterizes them, although their record continues to be 12 wins in their last 15 games.

This Monday they suffered the mobility of the English attackers and the capacity for effort and football of Jude Bellingham, one of the figures of the tournament. With a tough system of three central defenders, two long wingers and effectiveness up front, Iran still has no points on this day, so a defeat would leave them out of the fight for crosses. And it is that in their five previous participations, the Asians failed to get past the group stage.

Given the result of his debut, Queiroz could include changes in the ‘eleven’ that faces Wales. Thus, Azmoun, one of his most skilled players although touched, could be in the game, after already having minutes against England. The one who has a difficult time playing is the goalkeeper Beiranvand, who received a strong blow at the premiere by one of his teammates. All this to reach the third victory in World Cups, after only adding two victories in 16 World Cup matches.

WELSH: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Ampadu, Neco Williams; James, Moore and Bale.

IRÁN: Hosseini; Moharrami, Hosseini, Cheshmi, Mohammadi, Hajsafi; Jahanbakhsh, Pouraliganji, Karimi; Azmoun y Taremi.

–REFEREE: Mario Escobar (GUA).

–ESTADIO: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

–TIME: 11.00/World Goal and Movistar.