Iran beat Wales 2-0 in World Cup game that began with players singing anthem

DOHA (AFP) — Iran claimed a 2-0 victory over 10-man Wales on Friday as Carlos Queiroz’s men scored two goals deep into added time to keep their World Cup campaign alive.

The Iran players, who sang the national anthem before kick-off, sent their thousands of supporters at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium delirious by beating a European team at a World Cup for the first time.

Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey became the first player to be sent off in the Qatar tournament for clattering into Mehdi Taremi late in the game.

Iran, who had earlier twice struck the woodwork, finally broke the deadlock in the 98th minute through substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi’s powerful drive.

Ramin Rezaeian clipped in a second on the counter-attack three minutes later.

Iran, who would have been eliminated with a defeat, instead climbed to second in Group B behind England, against whom they had lost 6-2 in their opening game.

Wales tumbled to the bottom of the group and will have to defeat neighbors England in their final match next week to have any chance of reaching the knockout phase in their first World Cup since 1958.

The United States take on England later on Friday.

The Iran players opted to sing the national anthem in contrast to their stance before the game against England, when they remained silent in an apparent gesture of solidarity with anti-government protestors.

Some Iranian fans were in tears during the anthem.

Wales start brightly

Wales manager Rob Page elected to start striker Kieffer Moore after his impressive appearance as a substitute against the USA.

The Bournemouth man’s flick-on led to an early effort from Neco Williams that flew just over the crossbar.

The Welsh carved out the first clear chance in the 12th minute as Moore stretched to volley Connor Roberts’ cross, but goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini was able to parry his effort.

Iran thought they had taken the lead minutes later, although Ali Gholizadeh was clearly offside before he tapped in and the goal was ruled out by VAR.

A cagey game burst into life with a crazy 20-second spell shortly after half-time. Sardar Azmoun sped clear of the Welsh defense but saw his shot come back off the post.

Iran’s forward Sardar Azmoun and Wales’ defender Chris Mepham during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football game at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

The ball was recycled to Gholizadeh, who cut inside and curled an excellent strike from outside the box, which bounced away off the other upright, with Azmoun’s follow-up saved by a floored Hennessey.

Iran suddenly looked like scoring every time they went forward and Ethan Ampadu had to make an excellent block to deny Taremi the opening goal.

Wales had Hennessey to thank for staying on level terms with 17 minutes left, as he stretched to tip Saeid Ezatolahi’s low shot around the post.

The game opened up in the final minutes as both sides knew they likely needed more than a draw.

Iran were given a huge boost in their push for a winner when Hennessey recklessly charged out of his goal and crashed into Mehdi Taremi in the 86th minute.

Wales’ goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey flies off his line and collides with Iran’s forward Mehdi Taremi during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

Remarkably, Guatemalan referee Mario Escobar only initially booked the goalkeeper, but that was corrected after a VAR review and Hennessey was dismissed.

Leicester’s Danny Ward took his place and quickly saw Mehdi Torabi’s effort fly past his post.

But an emotional day for Iran and their fans was given its crowning moments right at the death when Cheshmi hammered home from the edge of the box and Rezaeian raced clear to clip over Ward.


Israeli politics told straight

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent


Join Our Community


Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this


You’re a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel


Join Our Community


Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *