Iran 2 Wales 0
Wales collapse after Hennessey sees red
By Sam Dean
Not even Wayne Hennessey, the great survivor of this Wales squad and a veteran of more than 100 international appearances, would have thought himself capable of surviving this particular VAR check. As soon as referee Mario Escobar was asked to consult the pitchside monitor, Hennessey would have known the truth of it. His game was over, his World Cup almost certainly finished.
As it turned out, that soon became true of his team as a whole. It is now difficult to see any way back into the tournament for Wales, who never lack effort but did lack quality throughout this chaotic meeting with Iran. Yes, Hennessey’s moment of recklessness proved fatal. But no, Wales were not heading for victory before he charged from his line and scissor-kicked Medhi Taremi, the Iran striker, instead of the ball.
To watch the challenge in the flesh, even from high up in the stands of the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, was to almost feel the impact of it yourself. The thud could not be heard, but the magnitude of the collision could certainly be seen. The first reaction was to wince. The second was to wonder how on earth Hennessey had only received a yellow card.
That yellow soon became red, of course, as the replays were shown and the true nature of the misjudgement became clear. Such was the ferocity of the hit, on first viewing at least, that it triggered memories of the infamous collision between Harald Schumacher, the former West Germany goalkeeper, and Frenchman Patrick Battiston in 1982.
Thankfully, it soon became clear that any comparisons between those two goalkeeping fouls would be grossly unfair, as Taremi was able to continue unharmed. But the consequences for Hennessey and his team were disastrous nonetheless, with the ten men of Wales unable to withstand any more of Iran’s relentless attacks. “The red card obviously changed the game,” said Daniel James, the Wales winger.
Hennessey’s generation of Wales players, including his best friend Gareth Bale, have made a habit of exceeding expectations and staying defiant against the usual realities of this sport. Here, those realities caught up with them at last. These players can only outrun time and disregard physiological science for so long, before eventually the hill proves too steep and the task proves too great.
The emotions of football can swing at any moment, for any player, and for Hennessey the pain of his error will no doubt be as strong as the joy he felt in June, when he produced a phenomenal showing in their play-off against Ukraine. “The best performance I have ever seen from a goalkeeper,” said Bale of his friend that day.
On afternoons such as those, Hennessey has appeared to be so much more than what his CV suggests. As if he was living a different life, and existing in a footballing fantasy. But in the real world he is a 35-year-old in the final days of his career, playing as a backup for Nottingham Forest. Before this tournament he had made only two appearances all season, and the fantasy of June’s performance in Cardiff ultimately melted away in the heat of Doha.
Perhaps it was rustiness that caused his wild tackle on Taremi. Perhaps it was the pressure of the occasion, with the game in its 86th minute and Welsh hopes on the line. Or maybe it was simpler than that: a split-second decision, a lost race, a gamble that did not pay off.
Hennessey was not alone in struggling, even if his errors ultimately proved the most costly. Bale was anonymous, scrambling for a foothold that never appeared. Aaron Ramsey was similarly ineffective, permanently wandering out of position. Even Joe Allen, such a reliable member of this group, was at fault for Iran’s second goal.
“You can carry one or two players if they have off days,” said Rob Page, the Wales manager. “But when the majority of the team are not quite at it, there is only going to be one outcome. We fell well below the standards we have set in recent months. When you do that in top competitions, you get punished.”
Would Hennessey have been able to save the first of Iran’s goals, scored from range by Rouzbeh Cheshmi? Possibly. Danny Ward, the substitute goalkeeper with a smaller wingspan, made the slightest of touches with his fingers as the shot fizzed into the corner. Neither goalkeeper would have stopped the second, converted delicately on the counter-attack by Ramin Rezaeian.
“It is a hard one to take,” said Page. “I have said to the players before every game, ‘go out and show the world what you show us every day’. That performance is not a true reflection of the team. We deserved that defeat.”
Wales face England next, but what then? What now for the golden generation? Where do players like Bale, Ramsey and Hennessey go from here? And where can Wales realistically go without them?
Page and his coaching staff will be asking these questions, too. First they will let the dust settle on this defeat, and then on this tournament. After that, there will have to be a shift. Perhaps not immediately, but change is coming. The players of Bale’s generation have been living their dream for so long, overcoming hurdles that many thought to be insurmountable, but this felt like the day a nation was finally forced to wake up.
How Iran ‘threw out the garbage’ in World Cup’s most highly charged win
By Jeremy Wilson
What had begun with tears and jeers from their own fans after the players did sing the national anthem would end with one of the greatest celebrations in Iran’s entire football history.
Goals in the 99th and 101st minute did not merely represent a devastating blow to Wales but sealed Iran’s first ever World Cup win against European opposition and puts them within reach of a debut appearance in the tournament’s knockout phase.
It would have been enough on its own to justify ecstatic on-field celebrations - with players and coaching staff all flooding onto the pitch to celebrate the goals - but this was also played under the intensely emotional backdrop of protests outside the stadium and a deeply volatile civil and political landscape back home.
Voria Ghafouri, a prominent recent player in the Iranian national football team, was reportedly arrested only on Thursday for “insulting the national soccer team and propagandising against the government” after backing protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September.
And, after choosing to stay silent ahead of their defeat against England on Monday in an apparent show of support for the protest movement, it was very noticeable here that Iran’s players did sing the national anthem.
Mehdi Chamran, the chairman of Tehran city council, had said on Tuesday that “we will never allow anyone to insult our anthem and flag” and there had been reports of reprisals if the players did again keep quiet.
When they did tentatively sing, some fans inside the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium were brought to tears. Others booed and jeered. World Cup security staff were earlier seen speaking to fans displaying the banner "Woman, Life, Freedom". The Associated Press also reported angry scenes outside the stadium as groups of men chanted "The Islamic Republic of Iran" at women giving media interviews. Fifa’s World Cup rules prohibit political stadium statements among fans as well as players, although they had allowed Iranian women to display banners at the 2018 World Cup in Russia which called for their inclusion as football fans.
It had all made for an extraordinarily emotional backdrop from which Iran’s players somehow seemed able to draw purpose and unity.
They withstood long early periods without the ball to consistently create the game’s best chances on the counterattack before finally, in the very last minute of added after Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey had been sent off, Rouzbeh Cheshmi summoned a wonderful match-winning finish. It was no more than Iran had deserved following a performance which also suggested that England had beaten a rather better team on Monday than might previously have been appreciated. Chesmhi did not specifically discuss the political backdrop back home after the game but did repeatedly refer to the huge pressure that his team-mates are playing under.
“I should say that, if the pressures were football-related, that would be expected,” he said. “But, if our players were under pressure unfairly that would not be right. I believe certain things that happened to players were not quite fair. I think they were judged unfairly and received some non-football pressure.
“It was because of the solidarity among team members that we were able to achieve this result. I believe that this was because of the help of god and all the efforts of the team players.”
Queiroz said that the team’s pride had “bled” after the 6-2 defeat against England but that the players had been galvanised by the chance to play for the people of Iran.
“The crowd deserve a special word - it was fun, there was atmosphere and drama,” said Queiroz, who had challenged reporters before the game for a perceived inconsistency in asking him about politics but not the managers of other teams. “We put all the garbage things outside of our minds, we focussed on our goal,” added Queiroz. “It was 90 minutes of joy, peace and happiness. What we want to do is give this gift to Iranian fans. This game was a gift to them all: from north, south, east and west. We're back to football, and I don't have the words to say ‘thank-you’ to our players. Now we need to finish the job.”
Former players react
Former Wales striker Ian Rush speaking on the BBC
Second half was like a cup game, both teams needed to win it
Wales gave it 100 per cent but it was a lack of finishing and second half Iran were the better team.
Ex-Wales defender Ashely Williams added
Wales gave it everything like they always do.
We probably didn't create enough and didn't have enough chances on the Iranian goal. I'm gutted for the boys.
Rob Page reacts
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales.
Our performance before the red card was not acceptable.
We hoped it would all come together today, but we were nowhere near the levels we've set and the standards we've set in recent games.
One or two you can carry, but when there are so many off days there is only one outcome.
I always take responsibility, that's my team, the sending off didn't help of course but at that point we had five forwards on the pitch so couldn't get a defensive shape.
But yes I'll always take responsibility for performances.
It's a difficult changing room at the minute but we will be ready [against England], it's a local derby and a great game to finish on and we'll be prepared to go.
Qatar vs Senegal
After Wales's World Cup hopes are on the brink, following their 2-0 defeat to Iran in the opening match of Friday's World Cup action.
Our attention now turns to hosts Qatar who face Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium.
The loser of this match will be knocked out of the tournament- will the hosts be leaving the party first?
Follow the our live coverage right here.
Heartbreak for Wales but pure elation for Iran
An amazing game with an amazing finish but there are other storylines to emerge from this one.
Namely, the Iranian's choosing to sing their national anthem as opposed to not singing it in protest ahead of their match against England.
Read the full story HERE.
Stat of the day
Wayne Hennessey has become just the third goalkeeper in the history to be sent off at the World Cup. Quite the statistic that.
An honour, albeit a dubious one for the Wales keeper.
WATCH: the final nail
The Bale conundrum
The Wales talisman was almost anonymous through that 90 minutes. He looks a shell of the player that has, so often, put his country on his back and carried them to success.
You can't help but feel it was only his name that kept him on the pitch there.
Post-match reaction: Carlos Queiroz
“This is just the beginning, but we need to finish the job. A wonderful day for us.
“All respect to my players, today showed they love to play football. Our players deserve to be supported. We want to play for the fans.”
WATCH: Cheshmi screamer gives Iran the lead
Most chances created in a single World Cup game across the last two tournaments:
8 - Mehdi Taremi vs. Wales
7 - Mesut Özil vs. South Korea
7 - Neymar vs. Belgium
7 - Kieran Trippier vs. Belgium
What a display from Iran's No.9.
Post-match reaction - Gareth Bale
“We are gutted, there is no other way to say it. We fought until the last second and we need to go again. We are all gutted but we have to pick ourselves up straight away.
“It is going to be difficult for us for sure. We will have to see. What can I say? We recover and we have to go again.”
Wales lose in heartbreaking circumstances. Lets us know what you thought of their performances.
Wales were disappointing
Iran were superb throughout but Wales will look back at this one with regret. They never got a foothold in the match and were constantly guilty of giving the ball away in dangerous areas. In the end they were punished and their World Cup dreams have been left in tatters.
It was coming
Iran were dominant in that second half and when Hennessey was sent off you always felt there was going to be at least one more big chance for them.
In the end there was two and they took both.
FULL TIME: Wales 0-2 Iran
What a game.
90+11 min: Wales 0-2 Iran
Wales have to throw everything at it and it leaves them exposed at the back. Iran win the ball and break clear and Rezaeian is left with a simple finish past Danny Ward.
Wales hearts broken.
90+8 min: Wales 0-1 Iran
The ball comes out of the area and falls to Cheshmi, who unleashes a powerful right-footed shot and this time Ward can't get down.
What a goal. What a moment.
IRAN HAVE DONE IT!!!
90+6 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Two minutes to go here. Is there a winner coming from somewhere?
90+5 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Neco Williams has the chance to put the laces through one but slices it horrendously and it falls to Brennan Johnson. He again can't control it though and Iran are off the hook.
90+3 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Iran are really pushing here but they're rushing things. There are at least five more minutes to play here. You have to think they'll be at least one more chance for them.
90+2 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Foul by Karimi and Wales can loft another ball into the box....dealt with by Iran though.
The men in red needed more there.
90+1 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Wales loft a ball into the area and it falls to Kieffer Moore but his touch is loose and dribbles into the grasp of Hosseini.
That was a chance for Wales, especially a Wales with ten men.
90 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Nine minutes of added time here....
88 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Torabi has an excellent chance to test Ward from the outside of the area but his shot goes wide.
If Iran don't win this they'll be kicking themselves for years.
88 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Danny Ward is on for Wales as they defend a dangerous free kick. Iran pushing everything at this now.
Wales are down to ten men for the last four minutes here!
85 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
The ref has been called over the the screen. Hennessey is going to bet sent off here surely. His foot is high and it's very dangerous.
84 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Hennessey is miles out of his box as he brings down the Iranian attacker. Iran want a red card but the ref has given his a yellow.
How has he not been sent off there?!?!?
83 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Hosseini pulls off a good save from a powerful Ben Davies shot. That was Wales first clear chance of the half.
81 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Few players are falling to the ground with cramp now. The hot conditions and high intensity appear to be coming back to bite now.
It's now or never for Iran and Wales as we enter the final stages of this enthralling contest.
80 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Wales are having a bit more of the ball now, with most of it coming it the Iran half. Can't help but feel that Hennessey save might prove a truly pivotal moment in this one.
77 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
A host of changes from both sides. Perhaps the headline is that Joe Allen is on for Wales. Can he brings a semblance of control to this game for Rob Page's side?
We're into the last 15 minutes here. Give us your thoughts on how the players have performed.
73 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Ezatolahi has a go from outside the area and Wayne Hennessey has to make an excellent save down to his right to keep it at 0-0.
72 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
The is tense. I mean really, really tense. Real jeopardy at this World Cup for the first time.
70 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Ezatolahi floats a lovely ball into the back post where Pouraliganji is waiting. All he has to do is head the ball back across goal and Iran have the opener but he gets it all wrong and Wales escape.
'Now or never'
Sam Dean at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
Rob Page has rolled the dice. Daniel James and Brennan Johnson, the speed merchants of the new generation, are on. Wales have gone to a back four. Now or never...
68 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Azmoun's day is finally done. He's replaced by Ansarifard.
67 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Brennan Johnson gets to the byline and cuts the ball back across the six-yard box. Bale is there and goes for a flick but is swarmed by Iran defenders. Better from Wales.
65 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Another great break from Iran and it's Taremi again who look threatening. He cuts in on his right and goes for goal but more good work Wales at the back denies a clear chance.
This game is opening up now.
63 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Iran break quickly after Kieffer Moore gives the ball away. Taremi almost slides the ball wide into Ezatolahi but Davies get a crucial boot on it and it's an Iran corner.,
59 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Azmoun is down again for Iran. This is the third time and it looks like Iran are going to need to finally make a change. That will come as a huge relief to Wales.
Oh wait...he wants to come back on. Warrior mentality from Azmoun.
57 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Brennan Johnson and Dan James are on for Wales. That is not a defensive change from Rob Page. Wales are going for this now. They need to get the momentum back.
55 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
It's Mepham to the rescue for Wales as Hajisafi lashes a shot towards goal after a poor clearance. Iran are turning the screw here.
52 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Iran hit the post twice inside 30 seconds!
The ball over the top finds Azmoun who hits the post with his effort. Moments Gholizadeh hits one from distance which also canons off the post before Azmoun's follow-up is straight at Hennessey.
50 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Davies looks to feed a cute ball through the midfield but it's blocked by a solid wall of Iranian bodies. This is exactly what was promised but went sorely lacking in Iran's game against England earlier this week. Wales are finding it very hard to break them down.
47 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Iran are already looking for that ball over the top that served them so well in the first half. With Rodon now on a yellow card, that could be an even more potent weapon.
45 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
We're underway in the second half...
No changes for either side.
A man for big goals, Wales need more from Gareth Bale. He again was pretty quiet in that half.
Huge 45 minutes upcoming
The football hasn't been the finest but the tension is palpable in this one. Both sides know a loss here would pretty much end their chances of qualification.
Expect both sides to be going for it in the second half. Should be very exciting.
A breathless first half of what feels like a knockout match for both sides. Give us you players ratings below.
'A chaotic half of football'
Sam Dean at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
A chaotic half of football, although Wales started to take more control after a shaky start. Their best moments have come through Kieffer Moore -- he needs more service.
HALF TIME: Wales 0-0 Iran
The referee's whistle blows.
Tight, tense and hot half in Doha.
45+4 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Rodon picks up a yellow card for a loose challenge at the end of this half. He'll have to be careful now.
45+2 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Just as I say that Iran create a half chance. Ezatolahi whips a lovely ball into the six-yard box and Azmoun is only inches away from getting on the end of it. Rodon did enough to put him off but that was close.
45+2 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Just as I say that Iran create a half chance Ezatolahi whips a lovely ball into the six-yard box and Azmoun is only inches away from getting on the end of it. Rodon did enough to put his off but that was close.
45 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Iran started well here but their attacking threat has waned slightly as the half has worn on, much to the relief of Wales. Evenly poised here.
Four minutes of added time at the end of the first half.
42 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Pouraliganji gets across to put in an excellent block on a Harry Wilson shot. That's great defending from the big Iranian centre back. That chance again came from link up play with Kieffer Moore - Wales' best player in this half for my money.
'Midfield is the problem for Wales'
Sam Dean at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
The midfield is the problem for Wales at the moment. There's no real sense of control or structure in there, and Iran have been able to slice through the centre of the pitch far too easily. I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Allen comes on soon, because Ethan Ampadu needs some help in there.
38 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Wales attack has been a little one dimensional, with their best chance coming from a great cross from Roberts for Moore. I can't remember another, similar ball from them in this entire half. That feel like an avenue they need to explore more.
35 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Rodon is under pressure as Azmoun - who appears to have shaken off his knock - races after a ball over the top. Ben Davies assists with the clearance but that simple ball over the top has been a real thorn in the side of Wales in this first half.
33 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Danny Gabbidon on BBC commentary wants Wales to try and look after possession a bit more and you've got to say he's right. The pace of this game is frantic, with neither side dominant in possession for any amount of time. It appears this style suits Iran better than Wales.
29 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Kieffer Moore continues to be a great outlet for Wales. This time his flick on finds Bale who takes on an audacious volley. It says plenty about his standing that I was disappointed he didn't hit the target there.
Nearly 30 mins gone here. What do you make of the performances of both sides?
27 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Azmoun, who has looked dangerous in his link-up play with Taremi, is down and receiving treatment. Wales will not be sorry to see the back of him if injury does force him off.
Let us know your thoughts
Who will win this one?
23 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Neco Williams wants foul for a robust challenge on the right by Rezaeian. This game has been full blooded so far. You can feel the desperation of both sides.
'A much tougher test'
Jeremy Wilson at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
First 15 minutes of Iran v Wales had suggested that the USA will be a much tougher test later this evening for England than Iran. Wales were on front foot and in control of possession after being outplayed for long periods against USA. And then Iran suddenly counter-attacked and cut Wales wide open, with only VAR coming to their rescue.
18 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Wales got away with one there and now must take advantage. Free kick in a dangerous area on the right byline. Harry Wilson stands over it.
Or is it?
Gholizadeh was offside as he tapped the ball in! Wales survive.
Poor play from Wales opens to door for Iran who work it cleverly to create an opening for Gholizadeh.
He wheels away in celebration thinking he's scored....but wait.
12 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Plenty going on here. First it's a huge chance for Moore who gets on the end of a great ball from Roberts but his volley is straight at Hosseini.
Moore has got a boot in the face for his trouble and looks to be bleeding fairly badly.
10 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
The frantic pace of this game appears to suit the Iranians and Wales are just trying to take the sting out of things. Lovely movement from Aaron Ramsey is spotted by Ethan Ampadu but the former's subsequent pass can't find Moore in the box.
7 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Decent chance for Azmoun as Iran pick up a 50/50 ball in midfield and work an overlap. His shot is weak though and doesn't test Hennessey.
6 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Pressure on Wales early here. Plenty of dangerous balls going into the box and a couple of panicky clearances. This already looks like a different Iran to the one we saw against England.
5 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
Iran answer back with a couple of decent dinked balls over the Wales back line. Taremi and Azmoun put pressure on Mepham but he does well to clear the danger.
3 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
First effort on goal is from Wales. Kieffer Moore gets the flick on for Harry Wilson, who then feeds Neco Williams. He cuts in on his right and takes on an ambitious effort but can't keep it down.
Jeremy Wilson at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
Iran players singing the national anthem today after the silence on Monday, but jeering around the stadium and high emotion among their fans with some in tears.
0 min: Wales 0-0 Iran
It's Wales who gets us underway in around 30C heat here. The conditions will favour the Iranians surely.
The Iranians are singing
The Iran players are singing their anthem this time. There is a fair amount of jeering in the crowd though. Tough to know whether that's coming from the Wales fans or the Iranians fans themselves.
Excellent Welsh support
Land Of My Fathers being belted out here. Hairs up on neck stuff...
Here come the sides
Just under 10 minutes to go until kick off at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium and the teams are in the tunnel. There's a sea of red behind the goal at one end but there are a few empty seats as well.
The view from the press box
'Strange coincidence, or something deeper?'
Sam Dean at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
This World Cup has started in the same way for Wales as last year's European Championship. A 1-1 draw in the opening game, followed by a match against a team that had been thrashed in their first fixture. Strange coincidence, or something deeper? Wales will be hoping it's the latter: against Turkey in their second game last year, they produced a stunning performance, winning 2-0 in Baku.
Goals, goals, goals
The importance of Iran’s defensive rigidity is underlined by the fact that they have not scored more than two goals in their last nine matches. If this is going to be a side that ships goals, they simply do not have the attacking pedigree to make up the difference. At least Wales hope they don’t…
Concussion protocols followed
Jeremy Wilson at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
Good to see Iran manager Carlos Queiroz resisting any temptation to start goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand following his "serious concussion" in the match four days ago against England. Fifa guidance stipulates at least six days between a concussion and another match but, unlike their stance with the OneLove armband, it is not backed up by any disciplinary sanction. At the last World Cup, Morocco simply ignored the guidance and allowed Nordin Amrabat to play only five days after a concussion. Fifa had been in touch with the Iran federation this week to make it clear that Beiranvand should not play but the final decision rested with the Iran staff.
Plenty of attention will be on the stands ahead of this one. Attendances have been a little disappointing in Qatar thus far, with empty seats pretty evident at at least two of yesterday’s matches. For Wales’ first match at this very venue the official attendance was a respectable 43,000. Puzzling considering the stadium itself only holds 40,000. But hey, I’m not in stadium management so clearly I’m missing something.
More flags removed
It appears any flags which even attempt to make any kind of statement are being removed from Iranian fans. A policy very much in line with security service's attitude towards the rainbow emblem.
Wales need a win...quickly
The Welsh form coming into this one is something to note. Rob Page’s side are without a win in their last five matches in all competitions, their last victory coming in their vital World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in Cardiff in June. A corner needs to be turned, and quickly, if they have intentions of making serious noise at this World Cup.
Remember, the Iranian side made their own stance on the issue clear ahead of their game against England by refusing to sing their nation's national anthem. That will be something to watch again ahead of this one.
Members of the travelling Iranian support have arrived holding shirts and flags in protest of the killing Mahsa Amini, the Iranian women who died after being beaten during her arrest in September. It appears Qatari security have attempted to quell those protests.
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand received a nasty head injury in the opening stanzas of his side’s game against England. His efforts to stay on the field were pretty laughable considering his condition and real scrutiny has been placed on both the Iranian medical team and Fifa for even entertaining the possibility he could continue. He was eventually replaced and will is expected to play no part today as he is in concussion protocols. He's sported quite the facial accessory in training this week.
Hossein Hosseini is expected to replace him between the sticks.
Iran confirmed XI
Carlos Queiroz makes five changes from the side who lost to England Hosseini, Rezaeian, Gholizadeh, Ezatolahi and Azmoun all come in. Beiranvand, Moharrami, Jahanbakhsh, Cheshmi and Karimi are the ones to drop out.
Subs: Beiranvand, Moharrami, Khalilzadeh, Jahanbakhsh, Ansarifard, Amiri, Niazmand, Kanaani, Ghoddos, Cheshmi, Torabi, Karimi, Abedzadeh, Jalali.
Wales confirmed XI
Kieffer Moore does start in place of Dan James. That is only change Rob Page has made from the side which drew with USA
Subs: Gunter, Allen, Johnson, Ward, Morrell, Lockyer, Jonathan Williams, Harris,
Moore pushing to start
After his performance against USA in the second half you’d have to imagine Kieffer Moore is pushing for a place in Rob Page's starting XI today. He offered a focal point for Wales’ attacking line, something which allowed Gareth Bale more space and a greater ability to influence proceedings. Looking at Monday’s side, Dan James might be the one to make way but that is all to be revealed.
Welcome to day six of the World Cup in Qatar and it’s Wales we focus on this morning as they get set to face Iran.
Both sides come into this game in dire need of a positive result if they harbour any ambitions of getting beyond the group stages and with the remaining Group B sides - England and USA - facing off later, this is their chance to make a statement.
While many Welsh fans will perhaps be disappointed that their side could not go on and beat USA in their opening match on Monday, 1-1 was probably a fair result on balance.
Rob Page’s side struggled to establish themselves in the first half, going a goal behind to a Timothy Weah goal with talisman Gareth Bale looking somewhat out of sorts.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Despite an underwhelming overall display, Bale stepped up and scored a vital second-half penalty which rewarded good Welsh work after the break.
While not ideal, a draw was far from disastrous for the men in red and they now have the chance to set up a grandstand clash with England next Tuesday should they come out of this one with three points.
At the other end of the spectrum, Iran did endure a disastrous day at office on Monday. A loss to England was expected but a 6-2 thumping was not.
Billed as a well-drilled defensive side with a limited but at least present attacking edge, Iran proved far too porous and were thoroughly exposed by a quality England performance.
Carlos Queiroz will be looking for his side to return to the sort of form that saw them defeat Uruguay in a pre-tournament friendly in September.
Striker Medhi Taremi was billed as Iran’s big attacking threat coming into this tournament, so his brace against England was at least evidence that he is in a goalscoring mood.
The question then becomes whether Iran can do the business at the defensive end to make sure his efforts truly count.
Full team news is expected from 9am.