DOHA: In a thrilling Group B match on Monday at a packed Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, experienced striker Gareth Bale's late penalty gave Wales a 1-1 draw with the United States to avoid a loss in their first World Cup appearance in 64 years.
Wales' all-time leading scorer was fouled by American defender Tim Ream in the penalty area in the 82nd minute and made no mistakes by blasting the ball into the top corner in front of the "Red Wall" of supporters.
Timothy Weah's goal in the 36th minute gave the United States, one of the tournament's youngest teams and themselves returning after eight years, a well-deserved 1-0 lead. They were unfortunate not to have a larger lead over the uninteresting Welsh at the half.
Following a superbly weighted cross from Christian Pulisic, Weah, the son of former World Player of the Year and Liberian president George Weah, perfectly timed his move and slipped the ball past Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
The Iranian team attracted attention earlier in the day when they observed silence during the playing of their national anthem prior to the match versus England at the Khalifa International stadium in Doha.
The Iranian team's decision to keep their goalkeeper on the field after he was involved in a bloody collision with a teammate was also called into question, according to reports in the international media. After becoming hurt in the eighth minute of the game, Alireza Beiranvand was later replaced. He attempted to play on after colliding with Hosseini Majid but was unable, and he was taken off the field on a stretcher.
England defeated Iran 2-6. Iran's head coach Carlos Queiroz claimed in a post-game press conference that his team deserved to lose because its players couldn't keep up with the English squad's quickness.