Iran forces Wales to abdicate

Dominating throughout the match, Iran had to wait for the exclusion of the doorman Wayne Hennessey then the end of additional time to overcome Wales (2-0). Definitely a highlight of the World Cup.


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Wales 0-2 Iran

Goals: Cheshmi (90e+8), Rezaeian (90e+11) for Iran
Out: Hennessey (87e)

A liberating howl. You have to see the faces of these Iranian players, these embraces between substitutes and holders – even though the nine minutes of added time had not yet ended -, which contrasted with the dejection of the Welsh helpless in the face of fate. Iran, at the end of the end, relied on a strike from Rouzbeh Cheshmi then a dive from Ramin Rezaeian to finally shout their joy to the whole world. Azmoun’s rage at the final whistle, one of the few prophets in his country, is already one of the strong images of this World Cup, which is more political than ever.

Iran pushes

The sun is beating down at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium this Friday noon. It lights up a good half of the pitch at kick-off, as well as the Welsh Red Army stand, which is holding up thanks to its bobs. Opposite, in the shadows, Iran and its supporters do not display the same unity. Carlos Queiroz’s players came to erase the slap received against England (6-2) a few days earlier, while their fans are torn in the stands between pro and anti-regime. The Iranian national anthem is sung by the players, booed by their own, and it is in a tense atmosphere that the ball begins to roll. Neco Williams unleashes a first banderilla out of frame, Sardar Azmoun responds with a soft shot, because yes, Iran is in their game.

Team Melli is however not far from being surprised in the twelfth minute, when Connor Roberts serves on a plateau Kieffer Moore who sees Hossein Hosseini pull out the big game. The only big alert for the Persian formation which believes to open the scoring by the stirring Ali Gholizadeh following a beautiful one-two with Azmoun, or even at the very end of the first period still by his “Iranian Messi” not far from taking back a diving center. In vain.

Stress, then nirvana

The fact remains that on returning from the locker room, the trend is not reversed for the Welsh: Iran dominates and fails to open the score by a hair’s breadth. As when Azmoun launched in depth, then Golizadeh in the continuity of the action, shake Wayne Hennessey’s cage. The hour of play is coming to an end, Azmoun can’t take it anymore and gives way to Karim Ansarifard. An exit that does not alter the Iranian ardor, like this vicious strike from Saeid Ezatolahi released from the fingertips by the great Hennessey.

Wales wake up at the end of the match, Ben Davies sees his missile intercepted by Hosseini but these meager hopes will crumble when Hennessey cuts Taremi thirty meters from his cages and thus receives the first red card of this World Cup . In the process, Mehdi Torabi is not far from tickling the skylight of Danny Ward. But it was during the nine minutes of added time, which were a torment for both sides, that the ax fell twice on the head of the Welsh via Cheshmi (0-1, 90e+8) then Rezaeian (0-2, 90e+11). A success that will mark the history of this Iranian World Cup.Wales (3-4-3): Hennessey-Rodon, Mepham, Davies-Roberts (Johnson, 57e), Wilson (James, 57e), Ampadu (Allen, 78e), Williams-Ramsey (Ward, 88e), Moore, Bale. Coach : Rob Page.

Iran (4-4-2): Hosseini – Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, M.Hosseini, Mohammadi – Gholizadeh (Jahanbaksh XX), Noorollahi (Cheshmi, 78e), Ezatolahi, Hajisafi (Torabi, 77e) – Azmoun (Ansarifard, 68e), Taremi. Coach : Carlos Queiroz.

By Andrea Chazy, at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

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