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5 topics of conversation ahead of the World Cup clash between Wales and Iran

Wales play their second game of the 2022 World Cup against Iran on Friday.

Robert Page’s side drew 1-1 in their opening game against the United States and know that three points will be crucial if they are to reach the knockout stages of the tournament.

Here, the PA news agency covers the main talking points surrounding the clash at Doha’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

The game has changed and those lung-crunching, unstoppable runs are gone in the first place.

But Gareth Bale, 33, is still capable of delivering game-defining moments and remains the difference for Wales as they prepare to win a record 110 caps against Iran.

Bale won against USA and scored the penalty to keep Wales’ hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.

At 6ft 5in, Kieffer Moore is hard to miss and the absence of his name from Wales’ squad list for the opening game came as a shock.

Boss Page realized his mistake after a futile first 45 minutes and Moore changed Wales’ fortunes after being sent off at half-time, holding up the ball to put Bale and Aaron Ramsey in play.

Moore needs to return to the starting XI on Friday, especially after England showed Iran are defensively fragile in the air in their fine 6-2 opening win.

‘Give me hope Joe Allen’ is what Welsh fans are singing to Eddy Grant’s ‘Gimme Hope Jo’anna’ – hoping the Swansea midfielder is fit enough to play a part after missing out on the World Cup opener.

The 72-cap Allen, who is so fundamental to the functioning of Wales, has not played since injuring a hamstring on September 17.

But Allen has ramped up his fitness spurt in recent days, joining the main group after training alone for the first few days in Qatar.

Wales had the luxury of kicking off against the United States at 10pm local time and playing in cooler conditions.

But the Iran game isn’t due until Friday, with the action starting at 1 p.m.

The temperature is expected to be around 29 degrees Celsius at kick-off. So will this prove to be an advantage for Iranian players who are more used to hot conditions?

While England had never played Iran until Monday’s World Cup clash, Wales previously met the three-time Asian Cup winners.

A friendly match in Tehran was arranged in April 1978 when the Iranian Shah’s son, who supports Liverpool, wanted to invite a British team to a game in the country.

Wales won the game 1-0, with Cardiff’s Phil Dwyer scoring the only goal in front of a crowd of 50,000.

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