Wales’ first World Cup for 64 years looks set to end at the first hurdle after a gut-wrenching – but deserved – last-ditch 2-0 defeat by Iran in Qatar.
Substitute Roozbeh Cheshmi struck from 20 yards nine minutes into stoppage time, before Ramin Rezaeian finished off a counter-attack to seal victory for a revitalised Iran side, who have renewed hope of reaching the knockout stages for the first time in their history.
Those were decisive blows to Welsh prospects of victory, which had all but vanished when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off with four minutes of normal time remaining, following a video assistant referee check, for a reckless challenge on Medhi Taremi.
As they did in their opening draw with the United States, Wales started poorly and had the video assistant referee (VAR) to thank for disallowing a goal from Iran’s Ali Gholizadeh for offside.
Senegal 3, Qatar 1
Hosts Qatar should not be called a “failure and disappointment” after being eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup, says manager Felix Sanchez.
The Middle Eastern side battled valiantly before Senegal condemned them to a second straight defeat – and subsequently became the first country knocked out of the competition after the Netherlands drew 1-1 against Ecuador.
But African champions Senegal are up and running in Group A.
Boulaye Dia broke the deadlock four minutes before half-time, slamming home to punish Boualem Khoukhi’s miscued clearance.
Looking to hit back in the second period, Qatar’s hopes were dashed when former Bristol City striker Famara Diedhiou rose to flick in a glorious header just three minutes after the break.
Watford’s Ismaila Sarr had an early chance on his 50th cap but struck into the side-netting, while Idrissa Gueye of Everton’s rasping drive went narrowly wide.
Qatar felt they should have had a first-half penalty when Akram Afif was bundled over in the box by Sarr, but referee Antonio Lahoz pointed only for a goal-kick, much to the anger of the home supporters.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made stunning reflex saves to deny Almoez Ali and Ismail Mohamad, but he could do nothing about Mohammed Muntari’s powerful header.
Qatar were searching for the equaliser, but Bamba Dieng stroked in to deflate the home following and leave their team bottom of the group without a point after two games played.
Netherlands 1, Ecuador 1
Enner Valencia scored his third goal of the World Cup before being taken off on a stretcher as Ecuador drew with the Netherlands to leave Group A wide open.
PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo had given the Netherlands the lead after just five minutes and four seconds – the quickest goal so far in Qatar – when he struck a shot beautifully into the top of the net.
But the Dutch struggled to build on their lead, with Ecuador’s Pervis Estupinan having a goal disallowed on the stroke of half-time.
England 0, United States 0
England laboured to a drab draw against the United States to miss the chance to seal qualification for the World Cup knockout stage.
Gareth Southgate’s side were second best for long periods as they failed to match the energy and intensity of the USA, who have their own hopes of making the last 16.
England, with Harry Maguire solid in defence, were unimpressive and rode their luck when Weston McKennie missed an easy chance and Christian Pulisic struck the bar in the first half.
Mason Mount brought a fine save from USA goalkeeper Matt Turner just before the break but this was an undistinguished display that carried none of the attacking verve that saw the Three Lions thrash Iran in their opening game, and leaves them heading into their match against Wales with their fate undecided. (BBC)