Iran seal stunning win thanks to two late goals to leave Wales on brink

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Iran seal stunning win thanks to two late goals to leave Wales on brink
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StatsPerform, Profimedia
Iran put in a brilliant performance to beat Wales, as they fired themselves right back in contention to reach the round of 16 of the World Cup. Goals from Roozbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian in added time gave them a stunning victory, while Wales are now on the brink of elimination. Wayne Hennessey's red card was the killer blow in the 86th minute, which left them hanging on by a thread for the last 13 minutes.

13:14 CET: And that's that for the first match of the day. Iran have put themselves right back into the conversation with that victory, and will have eyes on the England vs USA game tonight. They face the Americans next, which could be a winner takes all match. Wales are in a lot of trouble now, and will need something big to escape the group. Up next for them is England, which is as tough as it gets. 

Check out our match report, written by Jon Radcliffe. Next up, Qatar vs Senegal. See you there.

13:07 CET: And breathe. Goodness me. What an end to that game. Pulsating climax. Iran were the better team, and did deserve that win. Wales didn't play at all well, and struggled to create chances or string a number of passes together. Iran on the other hand, were bold, courageous, and took it to Wales. They were bright and vibrant, but some of their decision making, especially at the end of the game, was really poor. However, Cheshmi's strike gave them the win before Rezaeian wrapped it up. The red card for Hennessey was really damaging for Wales, as they may have hung on for the draw if it wasn't for that. But the pressure was just too much in the end.

Wales Iran match stats
StatsPerform

Second Half

13:01 CET: AND THEY HAVE WRAPPED IT UP. 2-0. GAME OVER. HUGE, HUGE WIN. WALES THREW BODIES FORWARD, IRAN HIT THEM ON THE BREAK, REZAEIAN IS PUT CLEAN THROUGH, AND DINKS IT DELIGHTFULLY PAST THE KEEPER. THEY HAVE DONE IT!

12:58 CET: OH NO, OH NO, I APOLOGISE IRAN! THEY HAVE DONE IT. IN THE LAST MINUTE OF THE GAME, THE 99TH MINUTE OF THE GAME, THEY HAVE SCORED AND SURELY WON THE GAME. INCREDIBLE. THEIR DECISION MAKING HAS BEEN SO POOR, THEY'VE OPTED TO SHOOT FROM RANGE WHEN PLAYERS HAVE BEEN IN BETTER POSITIONS, BUT THIS TIME, SUBSTITUTE CHESHMI HAS FIRED IT IN FROM AROUND 25 YARDS INTO THE BOTTOM CORNER. SENSATIONAL ENDING. SENSATIONAL CELEBRATIONS. SENSATIONAL SCENES. ONLY FOOTBALL

12:57 CET: Some really poor decision making from Iran, opting to shoot on multiple occasions from unlikely goalscoring positions. 

12:51 CET: Nine minutes of added time, plenty of time for Iran to find a winner.

12:48 CET: Dan Ward comes on, he replaces Ramsey. AND IRAN FIRE A SHOT JUST WIDE. TORABI CAN'T HIT THE TARGET. It is all happening here. Iran know they can win this game now.

12:44 CET: Ben Davies fires a venomous shot from outside the area, H. Hosseini tips it over the bar. OH, WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE THEN?? Iran counter-attack after Williams gives away the ball, Taremi is launched through on goal with a long ball, he gets to the ball first but Hennessey wipes him out. Has to be a red card... but the referee only gives him a yellow??? How has he worked that out then? Ok, he is being told to go to VAR, that will surely be overturned. And it is. Hennessey is sent off for taking out Taremi after he took the ball around him some distance from goal. No brainer, and Wales are in for a tough end to the game.

12:41 CET: Wales have been really poor today. They've struggled to put many passages of play together. Iran are forced into another sub, Ezatolahi is off for Ali Karimi.

12:37 CET: Okay, both sides making subs. Hajsafi, Gholizadeh and Noorollahi are off, Torabi, Jahanbakhsh and Cheshmi come on for Iran. Joe Allen also gets an appearance for Wales, with Ampadu being replaced.

12:33 CET: Great save from Hennessey. Ezatolahi has a shot from the edge of the box, low and hard, but the keeper gets fingertips on it to put it out for a corner. Iran still creating the better chances.

12:23 CET: Wales themselves are settling on the ball now. They seem to have ridden that wave of onslaught. Okay, Azmoun is now coming off. His race is run. Karim Ansarifard is on.

12:21 CET: It looks like Azmoun is coming off, that injury that prevented him from playing in the first game is clearly still troubling him. Or is he? The player who was set to come on is putting his bib back on. He battles on.

12:17 CET: Wales making two substitutions. Roberts and Wilson are coming off, with Daniel James and Brennan Johnson replacing them. A switch to a back four perhaps. They know they need to score.

12:15 CET: All the pressure coming from Iran now, who are playing some good football. A shot from the Iranians that looked goal bound is blocked, and Wales survive again. Can they survive this onslaught?

12:11 CET: HOW?! HOW HAVE IRAN NOT SCORED??? Azmoun, played through on goal, slams the ball onto the post. Iran keep the ball, Gholizadeh cuts in onto his left foot, fires a curling effort from outside the penalty area onto the post again. The rebound comes out to Azmoun, whose header is straight at the keeper. How on earth are Wales still level?

12:05 CET: And we are off in the second half. Massive 45 minutes for both teams. What do we have in store?

First Half

11:49 CET: A scuffle in the Welsh box just before half time nearly gives Iran an opening, but nothing comes of it. The half time whistle blows. The game started really brightly with both sides going for it, but half an hour into the game, the chances dried up significantly, evidently due to the magnitude of the occasion. It's really tense out there now. Wales and Iran will absolutely know that they need the three points here today, so something has to give in what should be a nerve-wracking second half. See you in around 15 minutes.

Wales Iran half time stats
StatsPerform

11:35 CET: Ok, things have quietened down a lot. The tempo and pace have dropped, both sides looking a lot more cautious. This graphic showcases how the game changed at around the 30 minute mark.

Wales Iran momentum
StatsPerform

11:20 CET: It's a really good game so far. Definite tension, but both sides going for it.

11:15: CET: IRAN SCORE! THEY'VE WORKED THAT SO, SO NICELY. Wait, he looks pretty far offside. And he is. No goal. It was good football from Iran. They kept playing the extra pass when inside the penalty area instead of taking the shot, but the goalscorer Gholizadeh was offside.

11:12 CET: First big chance of the game for Moore. Roberts whipped in a great cross, and the striker stretched to the ball in the six-yard box but can only put it straight at the keeper. He took a hit to the face in the process but he is ok.

11:07 CET: Wales a bit sloppy so far, giving the ball away in midfield on a number of occasions. Iran far more positive than they were against England, which is to be expected.

11:02 CET: Williams has a shot from outside of the box go over the bar, but not a bad effort. Moore won a header in the build-up to set up the attack, showcasing just why he is in the team today. His link up play and presence up front against the U.S. made a difference in that second half.

11:00 CET: Wales get proceedings underway. It's a great atmosphere out there, with the significance of the occasion absolutely clear. Pretty much a must win game. Can record breaker Bale make the difference, as he so usually does?

10:55 CET: The players are out, the anthems are being sung. It's nearly time.

Team News

Wales make one change from the game against the U.S. as Kieffer Moore comes in for Dan James. Joe Allen is only fit enough for the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury. 

Gareth Bale starts, of course, but in doing so, becomes Wales' most capped player of all time (110 appearances). He will be hoping to celebrate the milestone with a win.

Unfortunately for Iran, Alireza Beiranvand misses out after suffering concussion during the England game, and is replaced by Seyed Hossein Hosseini.

After previously only making the bench, striker Sardar Azmoun returns to the lineup, and will be hoping to make a big impact.

Wales: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Ampadu, Wilson, Williams; Bale, Moore

Iran: H. Hosseini; Rezaelan, Pouraliganji, M. Hosseini, Mohammadi; Gholizadeh, Nourollahi, Ezatolahi, Hajsafi; Azmoun, Taremi

Introduction

Hello, and welcome to the text coverage of the first match of yet another quadruple-header. The football just doesn't stop coming, but who's complaining? First up today, Wales take on Iran in a game that both sides will want - and probably need - to win. Can Gareth Bale inspire the Welsh yet again, or will Iran bounce back from their humbling at the hands of England?

As always, we will have stats and graphics, thanks to StatsPerform, and if you want to listen to audio coverage, then click right here. Can't wait to get underway.