Danny Ward Wayne Hennessey Nigel De-Jong Qatar Usa South Africa Iran curling Danny Ward Wayne Hennessey Nigel De-Jong Qatar Usa South Africa Iran

Iran strike late to leave Wales on the brink after Wayne Hennessey receives World Cup’s first red card

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“Don’t take me home” became an anthem of Wales in 2016 but the danger is they will soon be booking their flights. The latest of late drama felt a fatal blow to their hopes of extending their stay in Qatar, goals in the 98th and 101st minutes earning Iran the victory they thoroughly deserved but which thanks to a combination of the uprights, the most marginal of offsides and some inspired goalkeeping, they seemed set to be denied.Yet Wayne Hennessey’s day will not be remembered for his stops from Sardar Azmoun and Saeid Ezatolahi, crucial as they seemed at the time.If Wales have had World Cup history on their minds, it was invariably 1958, not 1982 or 2010.

Then Hennessey offered echoes of Toni Schumacher in the semi-final 40 years ago and Nigel de Jong in the final in South Africa to earn the sending off they somehow escaped – albeit when, ludicrously, the referee initially only booked him before being sent to the monitor - and the first red card of the 2022 tournament with the highest and latest challenge seen yet in Qatar.If there is a sadness for the centurion, who waited 15 years from his debut to play in a World Cup and probably never will again, his departure cost Wales.

They had hung on with 11 men. With 10, the hastily-introduced Danny Ward was beaten twice, first when Rouzbeh Chesmi’s crisp strike flew past him, then when Mehdi Taremi, the man clattered by Hennessey when 40 yards off his line, exacted the right sort of retribution, finding Ramin Rezaeian to dink in the second.Iran’s celebrations were euphoric and understandably so.The thrashing by England was their worst ever result in a World Cup.

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