Wales drew 1-1 with USA in the first group match of the World Cup in Qatar. Iran, on the other hand, suffered a 6-2 defeat at the start against England. Accordingly, the pressure on the Iranian side was greater in advance. In contrast to the first game, the Iran kickers sang along with the national anthem this time. In the duel against England, the Iranian internationals remained silent in protest against the regime. The two teams met for the first time ever in a competitive game.
Both teams went on the offensive at the beginning. Wales had the first big chance. After three minutes, the “dragons” approached the Iranian goal for the first time through Neco Williams. His conclusion, however, went over the gate. Moore missed the Welshman’s greatest chance in the first half. After a cross from Connor Roberts, he failed artistically to goalkeeper Hosseini. A little later the ball wriggled in the net for the first time after a mistake in the Welsh build-up game. Iran’s Ali Gholizadeh’s goal was ruled out for being offside after studying the video (16′).
The game flattened out as a result. The Welsh tried to succeed with a constructive play structure. Dangerous actions, however, were non-existent. Iran had their best moments from a set piece and in transition play. Asset Azmoun headed wide of the goal (23′) and missed a well-timed cross just inches before the break (45+2′).
In the second half, Iran immediately made an exclamation point. At first, Azmoun hit the right post alone in front of goalie Hennessey, a few seconds later Ali Gholizadeh shot from around 20 meters, this time his shot hit the left post (52′). Iran increasingly took control as the second half progressed, strangling Wales at times. However, it only got really tricky again in the 73rd minute when Hennessey was able to steer a well-placed shot by Saeid Ezatolahi off the post.
Shortly after Ben Davies failed with a long-range shot (83′), Hennessey striker Taremi cleared the ball on the other end. After studying the video, referee Mario Escobar, who had initially shown the goalie a yellow card, dismissed the Welsh goalkeeper (86th) – the first sending off of the World Cup.
In injury time, Iran still secured the deserved victory. After an unsuccessful attempt by Joe Allen to clear the ball, Cheshmi hit the bottom right corner with a long-range shot (98′). A little later, Rezaeian completed a counterattack to make it 2-0 (101st).