Wales will kick start the second round of matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup this Friday when they face Iran.
Venue: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (Al Rayyan)
Wales are without a win in six matches (D2, L4), their worst run since losing half a dozen games in a row between 2010 and 2011.
The Dragons are unbeaten in their last six games against teams from outside of Europe (W2, D4).
Bale’s goal against the USA was his fourth in a major tournament for Wales, which means he has scored five times in his last nine games.
Wales‘ 64-year gap between their first and second appearances at the World Cup finals is the longest of any nation.
Iran have won 12 of their last 15 games (D1, L2).
Mehdi Taremi’s brace against England moved the Iran striker onto 13 goals for club and country this season, with eight of his nine goalscoring appearances being the first or last of the game.
They suffered their heaviest World Cup loss against England last time (6-2 loss).
Head to head
The only H2H meeting between these two countries was in Tehran in 1978. Wales won the game 1-0.
Latest performances in all competitions
Wales will look to get their first win in the World Cup since 1958 when they face Iran on Friday.
The Dragons fought back from one goal down to earn a credible point against the USA last time out, keeping their chances of progressing from their tight group alive.
But having produced a lacklustre performance in the first half against the Americans, head coach Rob Page will be hoping he doesn’t have to give his Wales side another half-time dressing down this time to get them back in shape.
Gareth Bale, whose late penalty earned Wales the point against the USA, admitted the players “were torn up by the gaffer” at the break after a poor opening 45 minutes. With Iran suffering a heavy loss to Wales’ British cousins England, Bale and co will consider this a chance to put one foot in the next round.
But Wales remains without a win in six matches (D2, L4), their worst run since losing half a dozen games between 2010 and 2011. And so, they will be desperate to end that winless run here and set themselves up for their final group game and a chance of qualification when they play old foes England, who could end up resting players if they beat the USA in the late Friday game.
Possible Wales starting line-up
Wayne Hennessey; Chris Mepham, Ben Davies, Joe Rondon; Neco Williams, Ethan Ampadu, Aaron Ramsey, Connor Roberts; Harry Wilson, Gareth Bale, Keiffer Moore.
Iran’s World Cup campaign began in the worst possible way when they were beaten 6-2 by England while losing first-choice goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand to a nasty head injury.
Goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, and Raheem Sterling put England in command in the first half before Saka, Marcus Rashford, and Jack Grealish completed the rout.
Porto star and star striker Mehdi Taremi netted a brace to move onto 13 goals for club and country this season, but his goals only served as consolation and to help Iran’s goal difference. With eight of his nine goalscoring appearances being the first or last of the game, Taremi will hope for another positive outing this time as he looks to help his team pick up a win here.
Meanwhile, being that that loss to England was just their second loss in 15 games (W12, D1), Carlos Queiroz’s side will be confident of getting a result against a Wales side that is just one place ahead of them in FIFA rankings.
Possible Iran starting line-up
Hossein Kanaani; Morteza Pouraliganji, Roozbeh Cheshmi, Majid Hosseini; Sadegh Moharrami, Milad Mohammadi; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Ahmad Nourollahi, Ali Karimi, Ehsan Haji Safi; Mehdi Taremi.
Injured: Alireza Beiranvand
|Wales to win||Draw||Iran to win|
Wales 1-2 Iran