WCup Wales Iran Soccer

Rouzbeh Cheshmihe, left, celebrate Morteza Pouraliganji and Majid Hosseini after a 2-0 World Cup win Friday against Wales in Al Rayyan, Qatar. Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Al RAYYAN, Qatar — As protests that have gripped Iran emerged at the World Cup, its national team rallied late for its first win at the tournament in Qatar.

Rouzbeh Cheshmi scored in the eighth minute of second-half stoppage time to break a scoreless stalemate and Iran went on to defeat Wales 2-0 on Friday.

Goal celebrations by the team were in contrast to the scene outside Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, where pro-government fans harassed anti-government national team supporters.

Iran’s victory came after a disastrous loss 6-2 to England in the opener in Qatar, as players were dogged by questions about the unrest back in Iran.

“I believe this was the solidarity between the team members that we were able to achieve this result,” Cheshmi said afterward through a translator.

His strike from outside the box was just beyond the diving reach of Wales backup goalkeeper Danny Ward, who was pressed into duty when starter Wayne Hennessey was sent off in the 86th minute for a high challenge on Mehdi Taremi.


Ramin Rezaeian added a second goal moments later and Iran wildly celebrated – tossing Coach Carlos Queiroz in the air – while Welsh players dropped in disbelief to the field.

“It was really very emotional, especially because we rebounded from a difficult situation,” Queiroz said, “Nobody likes to lose, and especially when you lose by those numbers. It is a tough job. But this is the beauty of the game, there is only one game in front of you.”

The victory moved Iran into second place in its group behind England, pending the results of a later game between England and the U.S. Wales dropped into last place.

SENEGAL 3, QATAR 1: World Cup host Qatar was eliminated, just six days and two matches into the tournament.

Qatar can’t advance to the knockout round after to Senegal.

It’s the earliest exit by a host nation in the World Cup’s 92-year history. Qatar’s fate was sealed after the Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1 in the other Group A match.


Qatar still has one more match to play against the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Senegal, on the other hand, got its campaign back on track after losing 2-0 to the Netherlands in the first match.

ECUADOR 1, NETHERLANDS 1: Inspired by captain Énner Valencia, Ecuador impressed again in a draw with favored Netherlands.

Valencia has become a talisman on the biggest stage, and his 49th-minute leveler against the Dutch made him the top scorer at this World Cup with his third goal in Qatar.

It also extended the 33-year-old veteran’s streak of scoring all six Ecuador goals at World Cups since the 2014 tournament.

The draw gave both the Dutch and Ecuador one point apiece to move them to four points in Group A.


Ecuador dominated much of the game after Cody Gakpo fired the Dutch into a sixth-minute lead with a rising shot from the edge of the penalty area. It was the fastest goal scored so far in Qatar.


BRAZIL: Neymar will miss Brazil’s second World Cup match but will remain with the squad undergoing treatment for his ankle injury, the team doctor said.

Rodrigo Lasmar said tests conducted on Neymar’s right ankle showed that he has a ligament injury and will not be fit to play against Switzerland on Monday.

“It’s important to remain calm, an evaluation will be conducted daily so we can have more information and take the most appropriate decisions,” Lasmar said, adding that “the goal is to have him recover” in time to still play in the tournament.

Lasmar did not give a timetable for Neymar’s recovery. He said the situation of defender Danilo, who has a left ankle injury, was similar to Neymar’s and he would also miss the game against Switzerland.

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