After picking up an important point in their opening World Cup match against the United States, Wales return to the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium on Friday knowing that victory over Iran will put them in a good position to advance to the knockout stages.

Wales drew 1-1 with the United States on Monday in their first World Cup match in 64 years after captain Gareth Bale saved the team with a penalty in the dying minutes.

The Welsh team shares second place in Group B with the United States, each with one point, and England tops the standings with three points after its 6-2 victory over Iran, which is in last place in the opening match.

Wales’ equalizer was the result of a change of tactics made by manager Rob Page in the first half, bringing on striker Kiefer Moore, who turned the game around and put his team back into the game after falling behind in the first half.

Lesson learned, Page said. It was important not to lose the match. We have plenty of players in the squad. I look on the bench and see players who can come on and make a real impact on games.

Wales will face a challenge against Iran, whose Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz expects a turnaround from his players after their heavy defeat against England.

However, Page said he will have to deal with some fitness issues on his team ahead of Friday’s game.

He added: Before we face Iran, there will be work that the medical team should do. There are players who don’t play every week and get cramps.

“We have some tired players so we have to prepare a team so we can play again on Friday.”

Wales met once with Iran, and beat them 1-0 in a friendly in 1978.

Iran coach Queiroz is waiting anxiously to see if goalkeeper Alireza Peranvand will be able to play after he was substituted early against England following a nose injury.

Perranund collided horribly with team mate Syed Majid Hosseini as he attempted to tackle a cross and spent several minutes on the turf receiving treatment.

Iran also deals with issues outside the borders of the field.

Fans have accused the players of standing by the state’s crackdown on protests in Iran, in which activists say more than 400 people have died.

But the players chose not to sing their country’s anthem before the England game, in apparent support of the protesters in Iran.

By admin