ᑕ❶ᑐ World Cup 2022: Wales 0-2 Iran – Magic moments for Bale and Ramsey
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When Wales coach Robert Page was inconsolable after his side’s World Cup loss to Iran, he said it was one of their games: “If they had days off, they wouldn’t be able to carry one or two players, it wasn’t hard to see who it was. it is assumed.
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are the two giants of Welsh football, the masters of this golden age that won their country two European Championships and the first World Cup in 64 years.
The country’s captain, men’s football’s all-time leading goalscorer and now the most capped male player with 110 caps, Bale is widely believed to be Wales’ greatest future player, with Ramsey not far behind.
But in Friday’s defeat – which saw Wales face a group-stage exit in Qatar – both of those superb talents were reduced to mere spectators.
“We weren’t in the game at all,” Page said.
“If there are days off, you can carry one or two players, but if the majority of the squad is not there, then unfortunately there will only be one result. »
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- How Wales 0-2 Iran went
- “It’s disgusting – there’s no other way to put it,” Bale admitted of Wales’ opposition
- Wales 0-2 Iran: Gareth Bale voted your worst player
As in the previous case Wales Bale and Ramsey had much of this opening match against the United States.
Aged 33 and almost 32 respectively, neither Bale nor Ramsey have featured regularly for their respective clubs in recent seasons and that inactivity against Iran caught them out.
“It’s a problem we always have, asking players who don’t play for their club to come and play after the game,” Page added.
Bale and Ramsey have had quiet games in the past but have come alive at the most important moments. Think Bale’s penalty against the USA or the free-kick in the play-off final win over Ukraine – both of which came in matches where he was well below his best.
Wales’ problem against Iran – one of their many problems, in fact – was that these moments of magic eventually ran out.
Both Bale and Ramsey looked tired, struggling to match the tempo of the game and rarely doing much with the ball when they did have it.
They were not helped by Page. Although he said “lessons were learned” after the draw with the USA, he picked virtually the same team – forward Kieffer Moore was the only change – and -2 in the same 3-5 formation, did nothing for Bale or Ramsey .
Bale was isolated in attack, while Ramsey had to sit deeper than he would have liked in the same central midfield trio that his American counterparts dominated four days ago.
Ramsey was unable to control his natural attacking instincts and left gaps that Iran exploited as Wales tried to score the winning goal they so desperately wanted.
“I will always take responsibility for the performance,” he said.
“Of course, the sending off didn’t help, but we had five strikers on the pitch at the time, so we didn’t get in shape defensively. »
This result was by no means the sole fault of Bale, Ramsey or Page – but it was symbolic that the powers of these two iconic players failed them at this crucial moment for Wales.
He completed the match with Bale and Ramsey Worst ratings of any Welsh player by BBC Sport readers, and social media was full of criticism.
No sporting disappointment could diminish their legacy as Welsh legends, but in Doha it was almost impossible not to wonder if we were witnessing the beginning of the end of their illustrious international careers.
When asked if this was the case, Paige replied: “I don’t want to talk about it because we have to prepare for another game with England, a domestic derby. »
This final group game presents Wales with a tough challenge: winning against their capricious opponents, who they haven’t beaten since 1984 and are now considered World Cup contenders by some, and then hoping for the result of the other game between United on Tuesday. states. Iran is going its own way.
The last time Wales faced England in a major tournament, Bale scored a free-kick to put his team ahead in the group stage at Euro 2016.
Wales lost that game in Lens but fought back with a win over Russia to win the group and begin an unforgettable journey to a historic first semi-final.
There is no question of such a big comeback this time. Even with Bale and Ramsey in their ranks, the magic moments seem to have passed for Wales.
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