Wales v Iran: VAR rules out early goal for Iran in crunch clash

Wales v Iran: VAR rules out early goal for Iran in crunch clash

Updated: 6 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes, 19 seconds ago

Wales are drawing 0-0 in their crucial World Cup group match against Iran, following a disallowed goal by their opponents in the first half.

Rob Page’s side desperately need a win if they are to keep their hopes of making the knockout stages alive and, ideally, score plenty of goals.

Talisman Gareth Bale's 110th appearance made him Wales' most-capped player of all-time as he stepped out onto the pitch at the 40,000-capacity Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Doha.

Wales made just one change as Daniel James was replaced by Kieffer Moore in the starting line-up - the change that took place at half time in the USA game, which completely altered the course of the match.Gareth Bale became Wales' most capped player as he made his 110th appearance for his country

Credit: PA

Iran started brightly and worked chances of their own in the opening exchanges, with the Welsh defence having to scramble on more than one occasion to snuff out threatening attacks.

The Red Wall gathered in the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium

The early signs were promising with Kieffer Moore linking up nicely with Harry Wilson in the opening minutes to work an opening for a Neco Williams shot that ended up the wrong side of the post.

Iran's Sardar Azmoun and Wales' Joe Rodon battle for the ball

Credit: PA

The game’s first big chance fell to Moore in the 12th minute. Connor Roberts worked some space down the near side to whip a brilliant cross into the middle, the striker got his outstretched right boot to it but it went straight at Hossein Hosseini in the Iranian goal.

It then appeared as though disaster had struck for Wales when Ali Gholizadeh rolled the ball beyond Wayne Hennessey, only for VAR to come to the rescue and rule the goal out for offside.

Fans from Iran stand in costume in the stands

Credit: PA

It turned into a frustrating half for Gareth Bale and co, particularly in the final third of the pitch.

Iran defended with an energy that forced Wales to attempt passes that were never really on and they struggled to cause Hosseini problems. Iran, though, looked dangerous on the break without ever really troubling Wayne Hennessey.

The best Wales could muster for the rest of the half was a deflected Harry Wilson shot but they had not displayed anywhere near the level of dominance that had been expected of them in what was a tense opening 45 minutes.

A woman holds a jersey with the inscription Mahsa Amini whose death sparked protests across Iran

Credit: PA

The Iranian players were seen joining in their national anthem after after choosing to stay silent during their opening game against England last week, as a show of support for the protest movement taking place in the country.

Here's the line up for both sides:Wales: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, B Davies; Roberts, Ampadu, Ramsey, Wilson, N Williams; Bale (C), Moore.

Subs: Ward, Davies, Gunter, Allen, Johnson, Lockyer, J. Williams, Harris, James, Thomas, Levitt, Cabango, Colwill, Smith.

Iran: Hossein; Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, M. Hosseini, Mohammadi; Gholizadeh, Noorollahi, Ezatolahi, Hajisafi (C); Taremi, Azmoun

Subs: Beiranvand, Niazmand, Abedzadeh, Moharrami, Khalilzadeh, Jahanbakhsh, Ansarifard, Amiri, Kanani, Ghoddos, Cheshmi, Torabi, Karim, Jalali

Hundreds of fans in Doha gathered at the bucket hat corniche on Friday morning as part of a 'pop-up' pre-mach party.

Dafydd Iwan, The Barry Horns, the Urdd choir and plenty of supporters met for a singalong gig before heading off to the stadium.

A sea of red shirts and bucket hats could be seen on the city’s waterfront on Friday, with the crowd belting out fan favourites including Yma O Hyd, I Love You Baby, and the Welsh national anthem.

Iran, ranked 20th by FIFA, have competed in five World Cups before but never made it through the group stages.

They have only met on the grass with Wales once before, at an international friendly in Tehran in 1978, where Wales secured a 1 -0 victory.

Gareth Bale said his team are ready "to give everything" on the pitch against Iran.

Credit: FAW

Speaking about the game against Iran, Bale - the only goalscorer in Wales' opening World Cup match - said he thinks the clash will be "exciting and entertaining" for fans but also a challenge for his side.

It comes as FIFA reassured those heading to the match on Friday that they will be allowed to wear rainbow bucket hats, after the game against USA saw stadium staff telling fans the items were "banned symbols".

One of those told to remove their hat was former Wales international footballer Laura McAllister, who tweeted a picture of her bucket hat ahead of the game.

The rainbow hats support equality and LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. On Thursday, the Football Association of Wales confirmed that FIFA had said Rainbow Wall bucket hats and flags will be allowed in the stadium for future games.

Key threats in the Iran's team include players like Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun and Alireza Jahanbakhsh - who all have first-class scoring records.

30 year-old Taremi scored twice in the game against England and has scored 13 goals in 19 games for Portuguese club side Porto.

Bale said: "It's going to be a difficult game, we know Iran are very good but we'll be looking to try and score as many goals as we can.

"Of course we would love to score more goals but football games aren't so easy. We need to play well, we need to be clinical in our finishing but sometimes the teams don't allow you to score that many goals."

"We know it's going to be a difficult game. We're not going to look at the England game and just because they won 6 - 2 think it'll be a walkover, we're not going to get sucked into that.

"We're going to give everything."

The starting line-up for Wales v Iran

There have been reports that several fans travelling from Dubai to the match on Friday faced visa problems at the airport and risk missing the game.

The Wales Football Supporters’ Association said on Twitter: “Loads (of visas) finally got approved late but this whole process with day permit for Iran game has been difficult for our fans.

“We have informed Fifa and FAW.”

Dozens of fans replied to the post saying they or other supporters had been affected.

Fans with a valid match ticket are able to apply for a Matchday Visit Hayya Card, which is a visa permit that allows entry into Qatar for up to 24 hours.

However, many have reported that they are not being issued in time to board the shuttle flights into Doha.