After the open day against England, Iran has tapped out of a different vein in its second World Cup match against Wales. A deserved three-pointer didn’t seem to fall into the Iranian lap, but in the 98th and 101st minutes the redemption fell against 10 Welshmen. Iran will soon participate again for the 1/8th finals, Wales is in dirty papers with 1 in 6.
- Key moment: We have to wait until the extra time of the second half before we see goals. A shot from Chesmi earns his country three points, after which the game is over.
- Man of the match: We opt for a trio: the Iranian front line of Azmoun, Taremi and Gholizadeh was particularly strong. The fit Azmoun could play just under 70 minutes, and ensured that his country had a point of contact, allowing his two companions to come into play.
- Statistics: Iran’s last eight goals at the World Cup came after the 65th minute. As many as five of them were made in extra time. Mazzu time with Iran.
- Statistics (2): Chesmi’s goal was the 42nd of this World Cup, but only the first from outside the big backline.
Carlos Queiroz had changed his team after the embarrassment against England, with five new names. The most important substitution was up front, with a recovered Azmoun kicking off.
Iran started the first twenty minutes with open and fun intentions and nice combinations, so that the match went well. Wales took the first big chance, Kieffer Moore’s toe pushed the ball straight at Hosseini.
After 15 minutes, Gholizadeh intercepted an ill-judged pass from Roberts. A nice one-two with Azmoun later, he put the 1-0 past Hennessy. Iran at the party, but offside threw a spanner in the works, the Carolo was half a meter past the last man.
The pace then slowed, with Wales controlling. Less open football, and the number of opportunities decreased. Azmoun was barely twenty centimeters short in extra time to push the ball against the nets.
Extra time, extra discharge
The second half started after five minutes with a triple chance for Iran. The broken through Azmoun shot past Hennessey against the post, Gholizadeh curled to the other post, where Azmoun was able to shoot again. The goalkeeper of Wales was right on that shot.
Iran completely took over the game. Hennessey was tested, but ready for whatever came his way. Davies fired a shot at Hosseini, but it didn’t hurt.
A draw seemed in the cards, even when Hennessey went red after kneeling the broken Taremi in the face. Wales seemed to hold out with ten, until the 98th minute.
After a carom in the box, the ball ended up on the edge of the box, in Chesmi’s feet. He buried the ball to the right of substitute Danny Ward. Ecstasy, release, Iran went crazy.
Wales then had to come, and left space at the back. Taremi pushed on, laying wide on Rezaeian. A lovely lob over Ward and Davies ended the fading Welsh hopes.
That now has to count on the US and beat England itself to get anywhere at this World Cup.
National coach Iran: “Players have proven their love for this sport”
National coach Carlos Queiroz could not hide his emotions after Iran’s victory. “This is a magnificent day for us,” he said. “This is just the beginning and now we have to finish it.”
“I have to congratulate my players. They have proven their love for this sport today.”
After the bolwash against England, this is a firm boost. “After a missed opportunity, there is always a new match. That’s the beauty of football. We left that previous match behind us and this was just a deserved win.”
There was no joy for Wales and Gareth Bale. “This is a huge disappointment. We fought to the last gasp, but after the red card the match turned. We still have one match left and we have to grab it.”
Take a look at the most important phases here