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In Focus: Five talking points ahead of Wales' clash with Iran
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Dan Fitch
LiveScore
Gareth Bale once again delivered on the big stage as Wales came from behind to draw with the United States
Gareth Bale once again delivered on the big stage as Wales came from behind to draw with the United States

The pressure will be on both Wales and Iran when they meet in the World Cup tomorrow. 

Iran were thrashed 6-2 by England in the opening Group B fixture and a similar result would see them become the first team eliminated from the tournament.

Wales fought back well against the United States to claim a 1-1 draw in their opener and will now be looking to record a first win at a World Cup since 1958. 

With much at stake, we look at some of the key talking points.

Moore must start

Wales really struggled in the first half against the US.

A goal behind at the break, the Dragons just could not seem to retain possession and get up the pitch. 

At half-time, boss Rob Page replaced Daniel James with Kieffer Moore and the 30-year-old striker was able to hold the ball up and bring others into the game. 

Page initially opted for the pace of James rather than the physicality of the 6ft 5in Bournemouth striker — but everything points to the latter being the better choice against Iran. 

The Iranians looked vulnerable to crosses against England and Moore could cause havoc with the right service. 

Kieffer Moore helped turn the game in Wales' favour when he came on at half-time against the US
Kieffer Moore helped turn the game in Wales' favour when he came on at half-time against the US

Change of formation

Iran came into this World Cup with a reputation for being tough to break down, keeping clean sheets in six of their last nine matches pre-tournament. 

Despite their previous defensive success, veteran boss Carlos Queiroz decided to play with three central defenders against England instead of his usual back four. 

Though showing extra caution was understandable facing a team as good as the Three Lions, the move did not pay off. 

With Iran needing a least a point against Wales, a shift back to a formation that can see them enjoy more success further up the field is necessary. 

Ramsey worry

Possibly the poorest player for Wales against America was one that has previously produced for them at the highest level. 

Aaron Ramsey was the star when they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 — but that was six years ago now and his club career has gone downhill since then. 

The former Arsenal star, 31, joined Juventus in 2019 but struggled to play regularly in Turin, leading to a loan spell with Rangers last season and a move to Nice in the summer. 

Now that he is seemingly a permanent fixture in Ligue 1, he needs to deliver for Wales again. After an inauspicious start, the midfielder can only get better. 

Taremi needs service

Mehdi Taremi needs more support despite scoring a brace against England
Mehdi Taremi needs more support despite scoring a brace against England

If there was a bright side to Iran’s display against England, it was undoubtedly the fact that Mehdi Taremi managed to score two goals. 

Though the Porto striker played for Iran at the finals in 2018, his instinctive 65th-minute finish against England was his first World Cup goal and that strike was followed by the successful conversion of a penalty in stoppage time. 

Taremi now has 30 goals for Iran, on top of 13 strikes in 19 appearances in all competitions for Porto this season, with five of them coming in the Champions League.

The 30-year-old ace was often isolated against England and Iran have a duty to ensure such a talent receives better service against Wales. 

Bale remains key

Like Ramsey, the game against the USA saw Gareth Bale languishing on the fringes of the action, struggling to make an impact. 

But unlike his team-mate, the Wales captain stepped up at the crucial moment, winning a penalty in the dying minutes of the match before converting it. 

Bale, 33, has been the man for the big occasion throughout his career, whether it has been in Champions League finals for Real Madrid, the World Cup play-offs for his country or to help Los Angeles FC win the MLS Cup.

At a stage when the former Tottenham man is more likely to deliver momentarily rather than throughout a match, when those moments do come, Wales could not wish for anyone more reliable.

Tags

World CupWalesIranGareth BaleAaron Ramsey
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