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Wales vs Iran: Match preview, predicted line-ups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch
Wales look to follow up a point in their opening game against USA with a win against Iran at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
When and where to watch Wales vs Iran?
Wales vs Iran kicks off at 10am on Friday 21 November.
You can watch all the action from the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on BBC One via BT TV.
Wales vs Iran match preview
Gareth Bale conjured another magical moment to rescue a point for Wales in their first World Cup game for 64 years, but they must improve to beat Iran on Friday.
Rob Page’s side were listless and thoroughly outplayed in the first half against USA, but the half-time introduction of striker Kieffer Moore changed the complexion.
The Bournemouth forward’s presence revitalised Wales and they were the better side after the break, coming close to equalising before Bale won and scored a penalty with nine minutes left.
It was a seismic moment for Wales and their travelling supporters, and they now face a huge second game against Iran, with England to come on Tuesday.
They meet an Iran side who were thrashed 6-2 by England in a game littered with incidents in their opener at Khalifa International Stadium.
They lost goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand to concussion early on and were 4-0 down after 62 minutes, before Porto forward Mehdi Taremi scored a fine goal to pull one back.
England scored twice more before Iran’s star striker slotted in a penalty deep into added time in the final act of a compelling game.
Carlos Queiroz’s team were comfortably beaten but their players and supporters showed support for the mass anti-government protest in Iran by staying silent during the national anthem in a brave and powerful show of defiance.
Their players could face reprisals if they fail to sing the anthem in their remaining games and the broader context is hugely significant as they prepare for a defining clash with Wales.
Wales vs Iran predicted line-ups
Wales: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Ampadu, Wilson, Williams; Bale, Moore
Iran: H. Hosseini; Moharrami, Pouraliganji, Cheshmi, M. Hosseini, Mohammadi; Jakanbakhsh, Noorollahi, Karimi, Gholizadeh; Taremi
Wales vs Iran: Injuries and suspensions
Joe Allen was ruled out of the USA clash because of a hamstring injury and the Iran game might come too soon as Wales manage his return.
The Swansea midfielder has returned to training but remains a doubt having not played since September. “If he’s fit, he’s playing” said Page before the tournament.
Ethan Ampadu was replaced late on in the opener and his ankle knock will be monitored. Portsmouth’s Joe Morrell and Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest could feature.
Iran will have to replace goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand after his sickening head injury against England, with Hossein Hosseini expected to deputise.
Queiroz otherwise has a full complement for the Wales encounter and could opt to start Bayer Leverkusen star Sardar Azmoun alongside Taremi.
Wales vs Iran: Form guide
Wales slumped to four defeats in five matches before heading to Qatar and lost twice to the Netherlands and Poland and once to Belgium in a disappointing Nations League campaign.
Their last victory was the play-off win over Ukraine in June on a night of high drama at Cardiff City Stadium.
Form (last five matches)
However, a stirring second-half performance against USA suggests they are capable of sealing a famous win over Iran that would give them a chance of progressing to the second round.
The 20th-ranked nation Iran had lost only three times in 22 games going into the World Cup, but they suffered a heavy defeat to England in their opening match.
They are the highest ranked Asian team and warmed up for the tournament with a 1-0 friendly win over Niaragua and a 2-0 defeat to Tunisia.
They were expected to be defensively minded and tough to open up, but the England loss may force them to chase a third ever World Cup win against Wales.
He said what?!
Harry Wilson on how Wales will approach Iran and Bale’s influence
“It was a difficult result for them. England was always going to be difficult.
“They will be looking for a reaction and I think that is what we are going to see. It will be up to us to make sure we are on form to try and get the three points.
“He [Bale] drags us through tough games and got his goal.
“He deserves to be on this stage for what he has done at club level over the years and also what he has done for our country as well.
“His performances over the years, I think he deserves to play at the World Cup on the world stage before he retires.”
Queiroz on how the political unrest has impacted his squad
“To those who come to disturb the team with the issues that are not only about the football opinions, they’re not welcome because our boys, they’re just simple football boys.
“Let the kids play the game. Because this is what they’re looking for. They wanted to represent the country, to represent the people, as any other national team that are here. And all the national teams, there are issues at home.
“It is not right to come to this World Cup and ask them to do things that are not their responsibility. They want to bring pride and joy for the people.
“You don’t even imagine behind the scenes what these kids have been living in the last few days, just because they want to express themselves as footballers.”
Wales vs Iran: Players to watch
Bale’s brilliance salvaged Wales a draw in their first World Cup game since 1958 and BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage described him as the nation’s greatest ever player.
“Everyone talks about John Charles. I didn’t have the pleasure to see him. I’ve played with Ian Rush, my hero Mark Hughes, some of the greats – Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs – but I think given what Gareth Bale has done for Wales, he’s the best-ever Welsh player, no doubt about it,” he said.
The Los Angeles FC forward will be looking to add to his 41 international goals against Iran and could play alongside Kieffer Moore after he impressed against USA.
The striker made an immediate impact after coming on for the second half and could be rewarded with a place in the starting eleven.
Mehdi Taremi’s first goal against England was expertly taken and the Porto marksman is a prolific finisher in front of goal.
He could be flanked by former Brighton winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Sardar Azmoun as Iran search for a win that would give them hope of progressing to the second round.