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On November 25, Wales and Iran meet in a Group B game. Robert Page’s men came off a 1-1 draw with the USA while Iran are still recovering from their 6-2 defeat by England.
Both Wales and Iran are aware of the crucial importance of this game. They know that a win in this game will be an important step towards qualifying for the knockout rounds. This is all the more true for Wales, who have qualified for only the second FIFA World Cup since 1958. After qualifying for the Quarterfinals in 1958, the Dragons did not qualify for the Finals between 1962 and 2018. Iran, on the other hand, is a more regular side at FIFA World Cups. This is their fifth qualification since their debut in 1978.
Wales didn’t do well against the USA in the first half; In fact, they were lucky enough to stay in the game for the first 45 minutes. They missed several opportunities in the second half before Gareth Bale converted a penalty to score his first World Cup goal. Wales have not tasted a win in their last six games, winning just once in nine games. If Bale scores, he will join Ivor Allchurch as his team’s top scorer at a World Cup.
This game is absolutely crucial for Iran as a loss, even a draw, will likely knock them out of the World Cup yet again. They are already in a weak position in terms of goal difference due to the 6-2 defeat by England. They must also win this game against USA to qualify for the Round of 16 for the first time in World Cup history.
Wales and Iran have only met once, in an international friendly in 1978. Wales narrowly won that game 1-0.
Wales will depend heavily on Gareth Bale, one of the greatest wingers of his generation. If Wales manage to win this game, they will make history and advance to the knockout rounds. Bales have a key role to play in this. Iran will want Mehdi Taremi to score and attack his opponent early in the game.
The Wales v Iran match will be played at 15:30 (India time) on 25 November at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan.
The Wales v Iran game will be broadcast live on India’s Sports18 and Sports18 HD TV channels and the Jio Cinema app and website both offer free live streaming of the event.
Iran has improved tremendously as a footballing force over the past few decades. It would be unfair to judge them by the 1978 result. Iran will defeat Wales 2-0 and keep their 2022 FIFA World Cup dreams alive.
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