The American and Wales teams met on Monday night at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Qatar in the first match of Group B of the World Cup with a physical draw of 1-1.
Timothy Weah scored a classy goal in the 36th minute to give the USA the lead at half-time, but Gareth Bale struck from the penalty spot late in the second half to give Wales a crucial point.
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The match was played in a fantastic atmosphere with the Welsh fans booing El Ryan but meeting their match in the usual American fans whose drums were beating hard.
A lively 15 minutes saw the United States almost open the scoring with a Welsh own goal and Josh Sargent’s header seconds apart, while Sergino Dast and Weston McKenney were booked for hard fouls. they did
Greg Berhalter’s men continued to look the more dangerous of the two and opened the scoring late in the first half when Weh cleverly finished off his chance from a quick counter-attack after being played in behind the defense by Christian Pulisic.
The physical play continued after the goal, with Bale and Chris Mepham booked shortly before half-time for fouls on Younis Moshe and Pulisic respectively.
It was a tale of two halves and Wales manager Rob Page made a key change in the second half when he replaced Dan James with the taller Kiefer Moore, who was exactly what the team had been missing in the opening term.
And when play resumed in the second half, Wales forced the United States to defend for long periods, with Matt Turner forced to turn Ben Davies’ powerful header over the bar in the 64th minute.
“I felt like we had a lot of energy and momentum in the first half,” Weh said after the game. Then we went into the second half and Wales kicked it up a notch. They started to press us, they had more of the ball and I think in the end that’s what really hurt us.
Berhalter brought on three substitutes at halftime to help the United States see the game out. Klein Acosta, Haji Wright and DeAndre Yedlin came in, and Moses, Dest and Sargent made way.
As the United States cruised to a big win to open the World Cup, Beale pounced on Walker Zimmerman’s foul in the box and fired an unstoppable spot kick to beat Turner and tie the game despite 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time. tie forever.
“To be one goal behind against a good team like the USA, we showed our character and give the guys credit for coming back and getting a point,” Page said. When we got the penalty, we knew a million percent who was going to take it.
He has never let us down?
On the U.S. team, Zimmerman admitted his mistake on the shovel, but credited Wales’ all-time leading scorer with a professional move to put himself in the lead.
“He’s probably just putting his foot down, not for the ball, but trying to stop me from hitting the ball,” Zimmerman said. “So I kind of got past him and I think I still got the ball. But smart move — I wish I’d seen him out of the corner of my eye.”
The USA finished with four yellow cards, the team’s most in a World Cup game since a five-match draw against Germany in 2002, while Wales were booked twice in the game.
“Wales were very direct in the second half,” Berhalter said. They have a great team and they made it very difficult. They increased the pressure.
“But I thought the guys handled it well. We kept it until the end, it was a tough game and we left it all.”
Next up for the U.S. is a big test against group leaders England on Friday, followed by Iran, who lost 6-2 to the Three Lions in their opener on Nov. 29.
“In the World Cup, the most important thing is that we didn’t lose. We have to continue to do our best and continue to work,” Weha added, looking ahead to the group stage.
This report uses information from Reuters.