With goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand likely to be sidelined after a horrific injury in the World Cup opener in Iran, substitute Hossein Hosseini has a big task against Wales and star Gareth Bale.
Iran, bottom of Group B after a 6-2 defeat by England, meet Wales at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Friday.
Wales: Hennessy; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Ampadu, Williams; James, Bale; Moore
Iran: Hosseini; Moharrami, Pouraliganji, Cheshmi, M. Hosseini, Mohammadi; Jahanbakhsh, Noorollahi, Karimi, Gholizadeh; Taremi
Hosseini was already up against a formidable opponent in Qatar when Beiranvand was sent off in the first half of the tournament’s opening defeat on Monday before England had scored their first goal.
Beiranvand was allowed to continue playing after colliding with a teammate from the Iranian coaching staff, but later collapsed on the field and was taken to a local hospital.
Iran did not comment on his status, other than that he had a nose injury, was back with the team and had undergone testing.
The injury drew attention to FIFA’s concussion protocol. If Beiranvand is found to have had a concussion, he would be ruled out under FIFA’s return-to-play rules.
Iran’s head coach Carlos Quieroz was pragmatic after the defeat.
“We win or learn. We’ve had the privilege of learning a lot of things with the England team,” he said. “And I will conclude by saying that we are now much better prepared to play Wales.”
Bale converted a penalty in the 82nd minute to give Wales a 1-1 draw with the United States in their opening game.
The tie put Wales a point in their first World Cup game since 1958 and a knockout chance within reach. Bale, who played for Major League Soccer’s LAFC last season, has now scored 41 goals in 109 caps.
Bale has struggled with injuries and fitness for most of the year but scored in a header for LAFC in the MLS Cup championship earlier this month. LAFC won on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Philadelphia.
He’s not the only threat facing Wales. Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore could make his first World Cup appearance. Moore came on as a second-half substitute against the United States and made an immediate impression.
“He made a huge difference for us,” said Wales head coach Rob Page.
Iran, who qualified for the last two World Cups, have never made it to the knockout stage. And it doesn’t appear that the team will last this year either.
Iran’s trip to Qatar was overshadowed by unrest at home. The nation, which lies across from the Persian Gulf, Qatar has been rocked by protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while being held by morality police for allegedly flouting the country’s mandatory dress code for women.
Activists called for Iran to be excluded from the World Cup before the tournament began. When it opened, Iranians did not sing the country’s national anthem to show their solidarity with the protesters.
Stubborn Iranian media tried to blame the riots for the loss to England. The daily Kayhan said Iran’s defeat came after “weeks of unfair and unprecedented psychological warfare against the team…of domestic and foreign traitors.”
WHEN AND WHERE TO SEE
Where will the opening game between Wales and Iran be kicked off?
The match between Wales and Iran will be kicked off at the Ahmed Bil Ali Stadium.
When will the World Cup opener between Wales and Iran kick off?
The Wales v Iran game will kick off at 3:30am IST on 25 November 2022.
Where can you watch Wales vs Iran game in India?
The World Cup opening match between Wales and Iran will be streamed live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and iOS, the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be streamed live on JioCinema.
Where can you watch the Wales v Iran game outside of India?
The list below shows where you can watch the Wales v Iran game outside of India:
United States – TV: FOX, Telemundo; Live Stream: fuboTV, Fox Sports App, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Canada – Television: CTV, TSN; Live stream: fuboTV, TSN app
United Kingdom – Television: BBC One; Live stream: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website
Australia – TV: SBS; Live Stream: SBS On Demand
New Zealand – TV: Sky Sports; Live streaming: Sky Sport
Malaysia – TV: RTM, Astro; Live Stream: Astro Go
Singapore – TV: Mediacorp Channel 5; Live Stream: StarHub TV+, IPTV, Singlet TV
Hong Kong – TV: BeIN Sports, ITV; Live Stream: Now TV, ViuTV
Nigeria – SuperSport and Showmax Pro