Wales poor and Gareth Bale is finished as Iran win World Cup clash
Wales were beaten by Iran in their World Cup clash on Friday, with Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian on target. The Dragons had entered the game hoping to secure victory after a 1-1 draw with the US in their tournament opener. That didn’t happen though, and Express Sport will now look at four things we learned from the matchup.
Wales have been good at major tournaments in the past. In particular, the memory of his great passage through the quarterfinals of Euro 2016 stands out.
But Rob Page’s men have looked toothless and unimaginative during the competition so far and, after this loss, they are now on the brink of collapse.
Wales managed just 10 shots against Iran, with three of them on target, despite dominating the ball before Wayne Hennessey’s red card. They also managed to string together almost double the number of passes.
Iran were always the team that looked most likely to score a winner, with the Middle East side hitting the woodwork twice and seeing another goal disallowed for offside before their quick brace.
Wales will need to be at their best to beat England next time, but the brutal fact of the matter is that, of their two games in the tournament, they haven’t deserved to win either.
Gareth Bale is finished
Gareth Bale has been a superstar for Wales over the years, but as the veteran enters the twilight of his career it becomes clear that he is a player on the wane.
The 33-year-old, who plays for Los Angeles FC in the comfortable MLS these days, showed a static figure at the top as his team failed to create any chances.
In the past, Bale was able to beat defenders with a few tricks or a surprising change of pace. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former Real Madrid, Tottenham and Southampton star hang up his boots after the tournament is over.
Bale has already done so much for his country that no one would blame him for that.
Iran deserved this victory
Iran were well beaten by England in their first World Cup match and were actually lucky to score two consolation goals during that matchup.
But they put in a brilliant performance against the Dragons on Friday and deserved to leave the stadium with all three points to their name.
Ali Gholizadeh had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half, leaving Wales sidelined in the process.
And Iran were denied twice by both posts in the second half as they launched everything against the Dragons defense in an attempt to finally break the deadlock.
Finally, they did. And it was no more than they deserved, with the Middle Eastern country now on pace to reach the last 16 of the competition.
The 2026 World Cup will be painful
In the next World Cup, which will take place in the United States, Mexico and Canada, there will not be only 32 teams. Instead, that number is about to rise to 48.
Watching matches like Wales vs Iran can be tedious or fun. More teams like these will be in the next World Cup, completing the numbers.
Wales and Iran deserve to be there and that’s fine. But the idea of there being more teams like this certainly doesn’t excite anyone.
It is not that the parties are not a spectacle. They can be, as the last 10 minutes of this demonstrated.
It’s just that the teams clearly lack quality and are only at the World Cup to pave the way for bigger and better teams to surpass them.
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