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Wales v Iran: World Cup 2022 – live | World Cup 2022


Key events

Essential pre-game reading

Full teams

Wales (possible 5-3-1-1) Hennessey; Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, Davies, N Williams; Ramsey, Ampadu, Wilson; Ball; Moore.
Subs: Ward, Davies, Gunter, Allen, Johnson, Morrell, Lockyer, J Williams, Harris, James, Thomas, Levitt, Cabango, Colwill, Smith.

Iran (possible 4-4-2) H Hosseini; Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, M Hosseini, Mohammadi; Gholizadeh, Ezatolahi, Nourollahi, Hajisafi; Azmoun, Taremi.
Replacements: Niazmand, Abedzadeh, Moharrami, Khalilzadeh, Kanaanizadegan, Cheshmi, Jalali, Amiri, Ghoddos, Torabi, Karimi, Ansarifard, Jahanbakhsh.

Arbitrator Mario Alberto Escobar Toca (Guatemala)

Iran team news: Azmoun returns

Carlos Queiroz made five substitutions for the side that lost 6-2 to England on Monday. Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, who suffered a concussion in that game and was briefly cleared to continue despite not knowing his name, date of birth, nationality or even the last three digits on the back of the card , is replaced in goal by Hossein Hosseini.

The other changes? Ramin Rezaeian, Ali Gholizadeh, Saeid Ezatolahi and Sardar Azmoun replace Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Ali Karimi, Roozbeh Cheshmi and Milad Moharrami.

That should mean a system change, from 5-4-1 to what traditionalists call a four-on-four. Azmoun, who has 41 goals in 66 games for his country, joins Mehdi Taremi (32 in 62) in attack.

Iran (possible 4-4-2) H Hosseini; Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, M Hosseini, Mohammadi; Gholizadeh, Ezatolahi, Nourollahi, Hajisafi; Azmoun, Taremi.

Wales team news: Moore started, Allen on the bench

Rob Page makes a very obvious change from the team that started against the United States on Monday: Kieffer Moore replaces Dan James up front.

Joe Allen, who hasn’t played since mid-September with a hamstring injury, is on the bench.

Preamble

Who wants another emotional roller coaster ride? I’m afraid, if you’re Welsh or Iranian you don’t have much choice. For different reasons and in different ways, both countries ran the gamut on Monday. It will be no different today.

Let’s start with football. Realistically, Iran need at least one draw to have a chance of reaching the last 16; Wales could theoretically lose today and still go through. But even in the unpredictable game of snakes and ladders that is the World Cup group stage, that should not be encouraged.

Their aim is simple: a first World Cup win since Terry Medwin’s goal beat Hungary in a playoff on June 17, 1958, ideally with another Gareth-Bale script-writing moment. Qualification may comes down to goal difference, but it would be pride to think about that at this point. Iran are a better side than their 6-2 loss to England would suggest.

But they also have other things in mind. Even in this most political World Cup, Iran’s situation stands out. I won’t op-ed here, and not just because I’m subconsciously terrified of inadvertently saying the wrong thing and being called off before a ball has been kicked. It’s a nuanced situation that’s hard to fully understand if you haven’t followed it carefully from the start.

The players chose not to sing the national anthem ahead of the game against England on Monday, their latest gesture in support of those protesting the shock death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September. There are fears of retaliation at the end of the tournament, but also some confusion over whether local celebrations of that Monday loss were directed at the state, the team (for ‘insulting’ the anthem) or both.

We’ll get to that when the players line up for the anthems. I have to rush out and write some failed zingers for our renowned football daily email, Football Daily – please subscribe! – but I’ll be back with team news about an hour before kick-off.

To start up 10am GMT, 1pm at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.



theguardian

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