Gareth Bale has expressed disappointment at Wales’ late defeat to Iran.
After Wayne Hennessey was sent off for rushing out of his goal and colliding with Mehdi Taremi, Iran scored twice well into injury time, securing an important three points and moving into second place in Group B.
Rob Page’s side came into the game needing a result to ensure their hopes of progressing through the group stage did not depend on a win against England on Tuesday.
Immediately after the game, the Wales captain couldn’t hide his dismay at the result.
“It sucks. It can not be said otherwise. We fought until the last second, it’s hard to take but we have to recover and try again.
“We’re all gutted. We have to pick ourselves up straight away, it’s going to be difficult, but we have to be positive.
Asked if they can progress further in the competition as they need to defeat Gareth Southgate’s side and are likely hoping other results will go their way, the 33-year-old acknowledged the difficulty of the task at hand.
“It will definitely be difficult. It depends on the other game, but we’ll see. The red card completely changes the game. We’ll let the first one in, and the second doesn’t matter. We’re recovering and we’re leaving.’
After much back and forth in the opening 45 minutes, Carlos Queiroz’s side came out stronger after the break, forcing Wales into a determined defence.
The game’s turning point would come when goalkeeper Hennessey became only the third stopper ever to receive a red card at a World Cup.
After Aaron Ramsey was substituted for Danny Ward in the 86th minute, Page’s side faced a tough battle to get the desired result and Iran capitalized on their advantage.
Rouzbeh Cheshmi stopped eight minutes into injury time before Ramin Rezaeian added a second just before the final whistle to put the score beyond doubt.