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Harry Wilson bracing Wales for Iran backlash after England mauling

Harry Wilson (right) has warned Wales to expect an Iran backlash in their second World Cup game (Ashley Landis/AP)
Harry Wilson (right) has warned Wales to expect an Iran backlash in their second World Cup game (Ashley Landis/AP)

Harry Wilson has warned Wales to expect an Iran backlash after their World Cup thumping by England.

Iran were hit for six in their Group B opener as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions issued a clear statement of intent in Qatar.

Wales play Iran next on Friday following their 1-1 draw against the United States in Doha.

England v Iran – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Group B – Khalifa International Stadium
Iran were beaten 6-2 by England in their World Cup opener (Mike Egerton/PA)

Fulham midfielder Wilson said: “It was a difficult result for them. England was always going to be difficult.

“They will be looking for a reaction and I think that is what we are going to see.

“It will be up to us to make sure we are on form to try and get the three points.”

Wales were once again indebted to talismanic skipper Gareth Bale to claim a vital World Cup point from their first match at the finals for 64 years.

Bale won a penalty by cleverly manoeuvring himself between Tim Ream and the ball, and then smashed the spot-kick past goalkeeper Matt Turner for his 41st international goal in 109 appearances.

Wilson said of the former Real Madrid forward: “He deserves to be on this stage for what he has done at club level over the years and also what he has done for our country as well.

“He drags us through tough games and got his goal.

“His performances over the years, I think he deserves to play at the World Cup on the world stage before he retires.”

USA v Wales – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Group B – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring Wales’ equaliser against the United States on Monday (Nick Potts/PA)

Wales were non-existent as a first-half attacking force against the USA, with the Dragons failing to find a way through American lines.

Bale and Daniel James were left badly isolated and Wales were unable to spring any incisive counter-attacks.

But the half-time introduction of Kieffer Moore changed the complexion of the contest as Wales had bodies around the 6ft 5in targetman, who brought others into play, and got their wing-backs into advanced positions.

Dragons defender Chris Mepham, who is also Moore’s team-mate at Bournemouth, said: “Kieffer made a massive difference for us coming on and we looked a much better team second half.

“Any team coming up against him is going to struggle. I probably know him better than anyone, playing with him week in week out at club level.

Wales Media Activity – Vale Resort – Monday November 14th
Kieffer Moore turned things Wales’ way after being introduced as a half-time substitute against the United States (Ben Birchall/PA)

“I know much of a handful he can be and certainly as a defender I wouldn’t like to come up against that.

“Of course it’s not my decision to make, but we definitely we looked a lot better second half.

“It wasn’t just Kieffer, I think we changed our mindset a little.

“We knew we had to be more aggressive and braver with the ball and I think that coincided with Kieffer coming on.”