World Cup 2022 in review: Day 6 - Wales lose, England disappoint, the Dutch draw and the hosts are already out!

A daily report from the 2022 World Cup, reviewing the day's matches, saves, goals, gaffs and moments of magic from Qatar

By James Descombes Published: 25 November 2022 - 9.08pm
Harry Kane for England

Wales started the day's action with their second group game, against Iran, knowing a win would leave them in a strong position to qualify. Could they deal with the pressure and set up a classic final group game against England? 

In the day's final fixture, The Three Lions knew that a win against USA would see them through to the knockout stages with a game to spare. But could Southgate's men make it easy for themselves? 

Sandwiched between the two British sides' matches were Qatar vs Senegal, with both teams needing a win to keep their World Cup hopes alive, and Netherlands vs Ecuador to decide who would top Group A at this early stage.  

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The day's results

Wales 0-2 Iran

Qatar 1-3 Senegal

Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador

England 0-0 USA

Match summaries

Wales 0-2 Iran

Wales' World Cup homes hang by a thread as the Dragons lost 2-0 to Iran in their second group game. 

Rob Page's men will now need to beat England in their final group game and hope other results go their way. 

Iran have put themselves in a good position to qualify going into a crunch match against USA next week. 

Wales started better against Iran than they did against USA with Kieffer Moore, starting ahead of Dan James, winning balls high up the pitch. 

But what was also evident was that Iran were going to be much tougher to beat than they were against England. 

Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun were a constant thorn in the side of the Welsh defence.

However, the first big chance fell to Wales' Kieffer Moore as he connected to a Connor Roberts cross, seeing his shot saved by Hossein Hosseini in the Iran goal.

Azmoun combined brilliantly with Ali Gholizadeh to carve open what looked like an opening goal for Iran, though Gholizadeh was adjudged offside when poking home from a few yards out.

In first-half injury time a ball swung in from the right almost found Azmoun again, who couldn't quite make strong enough contact with an outstretched foot.

Iran should've taken the lead early in the second half, with Azmoun crashing a close-range shot against the post after carrying the ball into the box. 

Hossein Kanani followed up that effort with a curled shot against the post seconds later, with the rebound falling to Azmoun who could only head straight at Hennessey. 

Then with 18 minutes left Saeid Ezatolahi struck from outside the box, but Hennessey tipped the ball around the post. 

Both sides desperately looked for a winner and Ben Davies almost grabbed it, blazing over the bar from the edge of the box.

A pivotal moment followed, as Wayne Hennessey rushed out of his area to clear a ball, only to crash into Taremi. A red card followed and Wales were reduced to 10 men. 

Wales tried to cling on to a point, but in the 98th-minute Iran found a winner, with Rouzbeh Cheshmi finding the bottom corner from 20 yards out. And Ramin Rezaeian made it 2-0 minutes later to wrap up the win. 

Welsh players dejected after conceding to Iran late on

Qatar 1-3 Senegal

The host nation came into this match looking to make amends for their poor opening match performance and result against Ecuador. 

No host nation has lost all their games at the World Cup, but Senegal would prove a tough test before Qatar host group favourites Netherlands in their final fixture next week.

Sengal had the majority of the opportunities in the first half, though they were mostly restricted to long-range efforts. Nampalys Mendy, Krépin Diatta and  Idrissa Gueye all tried their luck but couldn't find the target or beat Qatar keeper Meshaal Barsham.

Qatar failed to create any real openings opting to shoot from distance too, with Akram Afif and Abdelkarim Hassan both seeing their efforts fly over the bar. 

Then in the 33rd-minute Afif was brought down in the box by Ismaila Sarr for what Afif clearly thought was a penalty. The ref waved play on and VAR didn't overturn the decision. 

Then five minutes before the break Senegal took the lead. Diatta's pass into the box wasn't dealt with by Boualem Khoukhi, who stumbled on the ball and allowed Boulaye Dia to strike hard and low past Barsham.

It took just two minutes of second-half football for Senegal to double their lead when Famara Diedhiou powered his header home from a Ismail Jakobs corner.

The goal put Qatar at real risk of becoming the first-ever home nation to be knocked out after just two matches, should Netherlands and Ecuador draw in today's other Group A game (those two sides drew 1-1).

Qatar continued in search for their first shot on target at this tournament. Abdelkarim Hassan  flashed a shot wide of the post in the 61st-minute, then a couple of minutes later Almoez Ali saw his shot saved by Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy as it crept towards the bottom corner. 

The home crowd then nearly got the goal they so desperately wanted to see as Ismaeel Mohammad connected with a cross but saw his effort saved at point-blank range by Mendy.

That elusive moment did come in the 77th-minute when Ismaeel Mohammad put in a peach of a pass for Mohammed Muntari to head home from six yards out to give Qatar hope of a turnaround in the final ten minutes. 

But those hopes were extinguished moments later when Bamba Dieng swept home first time from inside the box after a Iliman Ndiaye cut-back. 

Bamba Dieng scored Senegal's third to wrap up the win

Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador

It took just five minutes for Cody Gakpo to make his mark on Netherlands second group game against Ecuador, smashing the ball into the net from the edge of the box. 

The 23-year-old has been on fire this season and made it two goals in two games at this World Cup after also netting in the Oranje's group opener against Senegal.

This was the first time Ecuador had conceded a goal in 11 hours and 42 minutes of football since Manchester City's Julian Alvarez scored against them for Argentina in March.

Yet despite the fast start, the next real attempt on goal didn't come until after the half-hour mark when Enner Valencia's fierce shot from outside the box stung the palms of Andries Noppert in the Dutch goal. 

Then just before half-time Ecuador had the ball in the net when Angelo Preciado struck the ball into the crowded box from a corner.

The ball hit Pervis Estupiñán and crept over the line, but it was disallowed for an offside against Jackson Porozo who was stood by Noppert and adjuged to be impeding his line of vision. 

Ecuador started the second half as quickly as the Dutch started the first, scoring after just five minutes. 

Pervis Estupiñán's powerful drive from inside the box could only be parried by Noppert and Enner Valencia was on hand to prod home from close range. It was the striker's third goal of the tournament, taking him to the top of the goalscorers chart. And he's now scored Ecuador's last six World Cup goals. 

Ecuador continued to press for a second and after Valencia's shot was blocked it fell to Gonzalo Plata on the edge of the box, who crashed his shot against the bar. 

Neither team could create one golden opportunity to win the match, though Kevin Rodríguez almost scored fortuitously when he blocked Noppert's kick upfield. 

Enner Valencia was stretchered off towards the end and Ecuador will be hoping it's not too serious and he can return for the side's final group game against Senegal.

Cody Gakpo got the Dutch off to a great start with a goal after five minutes

England 0-0 USA

England started confidently against USA and almost scored after ten minutes when Bukayo Saka cut a ball back to Harry Kane, which was well blocked by Walker Zimmerman inside the six-yard box.

Then in the 25th-minute USA were handed their first big opportunity when Weston McKennie arrived on the end of a Timothy Weah cross ten yards out but skyed his shot over the bar.

USA came closer still on 32 minutes when Chelsea's Christian Pulisic picked up the ball inside the area and crashed his shot against the bar with Jordan Pickford beaten. 

Just before half-time Luke Shaw broke forward and pulled a pass back for Saka who steered his first-time effort over the bar. And that was quickly followed by a Mason Mount strike which Matt Turner palmed past the post. 

It was a good end to an underwhelming first 45 for England in which USA were the better team and came closest to taking the lead. 

The second half started with both teams looking capable of seizing the initiative without creating any clear-cut openings. 

Looking to pose a few more problems for the US's defence, Southgate brought on Jack Grealish for Raheem Sterling with 20 minutes left, though switching Bellingham for Jordan Henderson was a more defensive move.

An uninspiring second half grew more nervy as the minutes ticked by and England played not to lose rather than chase the win. USA looked comfortable but not overly threatening in attack.

Two minutes into injury time Jack Grealish won a freekick on the left side, which Luke Shaw whipped into the box. Harry Kane met the cross with his head but it flew past the post.

England remain top of Group B with four points and will qualify for the knockout stages if they avoid a heavy defeat to Wales. USA will need to beat Iran, but all four teams in the group can still qualify going into their final fixtures. 

A point leaves England in a good position in the group, but it was a disappointing performance against USA

Goal of the day

Rouzbeh Cheshmi

With the game finely poised at 0-0 and both sides trying to grab all three points, Iran put a ball into the box which Joe Allen could only clear to the edge of the box. Step forward Rouzbeh Cheshmi, who unleashed a stunning strike from 20 yards into the bottom corner, sparking wild scenes of celebration and heartbreak for Wales fans. 

Save of the day

Edouard Mendy

The Chelsea keeper was in fine form in Senegal's match against Qatar. The host nation didn't carve open too many opportunities until the second half, which required Mendy to make a couple of good saves. The best of which was from Ismaeel Mohammad's close-range effort after he connected his knee with a cross inside the six-yard box, which Mendy was able to push around the post. 

Player of the day

Pervis Estupiñán

Ecuador earned a credible point against Netherlands Khalifa International Stadium. Both teams now sit joint top of Group A on four points going into their final group fixtures. 

Brighton left-back Pervis Estupiñán proved a constant threat down the left-hand side and was unlucky to see his goal disallowed just before half-time. In the second half it was his saved shot which fell to Enner Valencia leaving the Fenerbahçe forward with a simple tap in. 

Magic moments

  • Perhaps under political pressure back home, the Iran team sang their national anthem. But there were lots of boos and tears in the stand from Iranian men and women overcome with emotion. 
 
  • Iran players lifting their Head Coach Carlos Queiroz into the air after their win over Wales.
 
  • Qatar fans bounced in unison behind the goal as their team played Senegal. 
 
  • Senegal fans were in party mood at the Al Thumama Stadium. 
 
  • The entire Ecuador squad, including the substitutes, huddled around Enner Valencia after he scored an early second-half equaliser for Ecuador against Netherlands.  
 
  • Weston McKennie drying his hands on a photographer's vest before launching a long throw-in into England's box.
Carlos Queiroz was lifted in the air by his Iran players after they beat Wales 2-0

Quote of the day

Wales manager, Rob Page, after defeat to Iran:

"We weren't in the game at all. You can carry one or two players if they have off days, but when the majority of the team are not quite at it, there's only going to be one outcome unfortunately.

"I'm disappointed, more because we fell well below the standards we've set in recent months that's got us success to qualify for the World Cup. If we'd have met those standards, we'd have been alright, but we fell well below that today, and when you do that in top competitions, you get punished.

"This is a hard one to take because of the stage we're on. I've said to them before every game, 'go out and show the world what you show us every day'. That is not a true reflection of that team. They got their rewards today, they deserved that defeat. That's not like them, and that's what disappoints me the most."

Image of the day

The Ecuador squad gathered around Enner Valencia after he equalised against Netherlands

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Upcoming fixtures

Saturday 26 November: 

Group D - Tunisia vs Australia - 10am KO

Group C - Poland vs Saudi Arabia - 1pm KO

Group D - France vs Denmark - 4pm KO

Group C - Argentina vs Mexico - 7pm KO