Doha, Qatar — Iran scored twice in late injury time and secured a stunning 2-0 win over Wales that breathed new life into their World Cup campaign.
Faced with elimination should they lose, Iran was barely recognizable by the team that beat England 6-2 in their opening game, and they were deserving winners, even if they left extremely late.
The win brings Iran three points in Group B, two more than Wales, which was played 1-1 by the United States in its opening game. England and the USA will face each other later on Friday. The group comes to a head next Tuesday when Wales faces off against its old rivals and Iran takes on the US.
Here is what the Iranian fans had to say at the game at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha:
Rana Mahmudi, 27, and husband Farzad Fardin, 30:
“We are very happy about today’s victory. There was no goal 90 minutes ago. We were worried and frustrated but thank goodness we won at the last minute. We hope to win 5-0 against the USA.”
Syed Tagi Hussani, 66, and Syed Abas Hussani, 43, his son:
“We knew we were going to win today, but we’re hoping for a big win against the United States.”
Hamed Ramezanzade, 32 years old:
“We lost our first game very hard. When I came to the game today, I was hoping for an easy win, but Wales played really well. I would have been sad if we had lost again today. But I’m proud of the Iranian team, we won. I should say it wasn’t an easy win.”
Masood Khoram, 34 years old:
“Our players were under pressure right from the start of the game. Personally, I think the coach won’t let some good players play. I don’t know why, maybe he has other plans for her.
“But I don’t think the player selection was good in our first game, even today. We won at the last minute. It wasn’t that big of a win. I hope that the coach will let other players on the team play in future games.”
Saman Salamat 17:
“The whole of Iran knows that we could have done better at the start — 6-2 is not exactly the Iranian standard. It always breaks my heart when I think of this game. I’m very happy, but I expected at least a 6-0 win today, we deserve more, Iran deserves more.
“We need to win the game in the USA and we will definitely go into the knock-out phase without a doubt. We’re going to prove it to the world.
“We lost the first game for many reasons, our goalkeeper got injured in the first few minutes, the fans were upset, everything bad happened that day. The team came under pressure with the first two goals and then they let other goals come easily.”