World Cup 2022: Wales captain Gareth Bale sets a record in the decisive duel against Iran

(Left to right) Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey
Gareth Bale (centre) and Chris Gunter (left) currently have 109 caps for Wales
host nation: Qatar Events: 20 Nov-18 Nov December Cover: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Daily TV ListsFull coverage details

Wales meet Iran in a crucial second World Cup match and know a win would greatly improve their chances of reaching the second round in Qatar.

Robert Page’s side started with a 1-1 draw against the United States while Iran were beaten 6-2 by England.

Captain Gareth Bale will overtake his teammate Chris Gunter Wales’ most capped man when he plays on Friday.

“It’s an amazing achievement, it’s an honor to represent my country so many times,” said Bale, who has 109 caps.

“But it’s more important that we try to get the win. Hopefully we can and it will make it even more special.

“It will be a difficult game against Iran – they are a very good team. They are here for a reason but of course we think we can beat them.”

33-year-old Bale is already Wales’ all-time leading scorer in men’s football and extended his record to 41 goals with a late penalty against USA on Monday.

That game, at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, which also hosted the Iran game, was Wales’ first at a World Cup since 1958.

They seemed overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event in the first half, where they were outplayed by the USA, but Page’s men were much improved after the break and were well worth their point.

Wales cannot afford to start so slowly against Iran, whom they must beat to have any realistic chance of reaching the last 16, as Group B favorites and early leaders England on Tuesday in their third and will play the last group match.

“Iran will want a reaction to a disappointing defeat,” Page said.

“I think they watched the games and England was a free game for them. I think that’s why the manager changed the form, he changed it for this game. I think we won’t be too surprised by his formation .” picks Both teams have to win.”

As Page suggests, this is also an important game for Iran, who will almost certainly be heading for group stage elimination if they suffer a second of two defeats.

Carlos Queiroz’s side kept a clean sheet in six of their previous nine games before being crushed by a rampant England side on Monday.

“The World Cup starts for us tomorrow [Friday]. We have two games and six points to play,” said Queiroz, former Real Madrid coach and former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

“Welcome to the great show for Wales after 64 years. It’s incredible to see the Rote Wand in the stadium.

“Wales plays with character. It’s like a party. A football party show.”

Team News

According to Page, it’s Welsh midfielder Joe Allen “Fit and full of energy” after a hamstring injury that has kept the player away from Swansea City since September.

Having trained alone since Wales in Qatar, Allen joined the rest of the squad for Wednesday’s session.

“Having him available is a huge boost for us with two games left,” said Bale.

“Hopefully he can come or start and he’ll do what Joe Allen does best and cover every blade of grass.”

Aside from “a few tired bodies” after the opening draw with USA, Page says his side are fully fit.

Forward Kieffer Moore is looking to start as a substitute at half-time against USA after a breakthrough performance.

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand will miss the game after suffering a concussion and broken nose against England.

Queiroz said: “There’s a medical protocol that we have to respect and there’s no way to get around the protocol, so he won’t play.”

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