Facing elimination if they lost, Iran was almost unrecognizable from the side beaten 6-2 by England in their opener.
Doha, Qatar – Iran scored twice late in stoppage time to secure a stunning 2-0 victory over Wales that revitalized their World Cup campaign.
Facing elimination if they lost, Iran were almost unrecognizable from the side beaten 6-2 by England in their opener, and they were deserved winners even as they left it extremely late.
The win takes Iran to three points in Group B, two more than Wales – who were held to a 1-1 draw by the United States in their opener – with England and the US facing off later on Friday. The group comes to a head next Tuesday, when Wales play their old rivals and Iran face the US.
This is what Iranian supporters had to say during the match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha:
Rana Mahmudi, 27, and husband Farzad Fardin, 30:
“We are very happy with today’s victory. There was no goal until 90 minutes. We were worried and frustrated, but thank God we won at the last minute, we hope we will win 5-0 against the USA.
Syed Tagi Hussani, 66, and Syed Abas Hussani, 43, his son:
“We knew we would win today, but we hope for a big win against the United States.”
Hamed Ramezanzade, 32:
“We lost our first game very badly. When I came to the game today I was hoping for an easy win but Wales played very well. I would be sad if we lost again today. But I am proud of the Iranian team , we won. It was not an easy win, I must say.”
Masood Khoram, 34:
“Our players were under pressure from the start of the game. Personally, I believe that the coach does not let some good players play. I don’t know the reason, maybe he has other plans for them.
“But I believe that the selection of players was not good in our first game, not today. We won in the last minute. It wasn’t such a great win. I hope the coach will let other players from the team play in future matches.”
Saman Salamat 17:
“All of Iran knows we could have done better in the opener – 6-2 is not very Iranian standard. Every time I think about that game my heart breaks. I am very satisfied, but I expected at least a 6-0 win today, we deserve more, Iran deserves more.
“We have to win the game in the US and we will go to the knockout stage without a doubt. We’re going to prove it to the world.
“We lost the first game for several reasons, our goalkeeper got injured in the first few minutes, the fans were upset, a lot happened that day. The team came under pressure with the first two goals and then they let other goals come easily.”