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‘The golden era is coming to an end’ – Wales fans ‘devastated’ at World Cup loss

25 Nov 2022 5 minute read
Wales fans leave the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar, following their 2-0 defeat to Iran during the FIFA World Cup 2022. Picture by Jonathan Brady / PA

Wales fans said they were “devastated” after a last-gasp defeat left the team on the brink of World Cup elimination.

Supporters who made the long journey to Qatar to see Wales’ first World Cup appearance in 64 years admitted their side was not good enough as they were defeated 2-0 by Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Friday.

Many of the Red Wall remained to cheer on their national side after the final whistle and a chorus of ‘Yma o Hyd’, the team’s official World Cup song, rang out as players left the pitch.

Others said they felt for manager Rob Page after witnessing his family in tears at the end of the match.

Despite the “disappointment” some insisted Wales could still “smash” England in the third and final game in the group stage.

“We’re just sad really,” said Richard Jones, 56, from Cardiff, who is in Qatar with his 22-year-old son Yohji.

“We thought at the end that Wales would get a last-minute goal, as they often have. But we just lost it.

“And ultimately the right team won today, it’s just a real shame.”

‘Coming to an end’

Morgan Jones, 50, from Gwynedd, who had flown out with his partner and two children for the USA and Iran matches said: “It just wasn’t good enough, and really I’m happy for Iran. They deserved that win.

“We’ve got a lot to be thankful for though. We’re here and we saw Gareth Bale score a penalty – which was a highlight.

“But it does make you feel like the golden era of Wales football is coming to an end, the sun is setting on the team.”

The defeat, which also saw goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey sent off for a rash challenge, leaves Wales needing to beat England in the Group B decider, which Mr Jones admitted he was “dreaming of”.

He said: “We can still dream, it would amazing to go through after beating England.

“But at the moment, I think it’s highly unlikely.”

Wales fans leave the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar, following their 2-0 defeat to Iran during the FIFA World Cup 2022. Picture by Jonathan Brady / PA

‘Emotional’

Some fans were more optimistic and when asked whether Wales would have a chance of winning the next game Alison Lewis, 62, Rachel James, 49 and Sheila Jones, 71, gave a resounding: “Yes”.

All three women said: “We’re disappointed for the boys more than anything.”

Ms Lewis, from Aberystwyth, said: “My heart breaks for Hennessey, to be red carded like that.

“It was very emotional watching it, but on the day the best team won. It’s as simple as that.

“It’s a shame the boys just couldn’t go up a gear.”

Of the next game against England, Ms James from Neath, said: “Go and get them boys.”

The women said they were sitting behind manager Rob Page’s family and said they felt for his two daughters who were crying at the end of the game.

School children at Rhiwbeina Primary School, Cardiff, watch the FIFA World Cup Group B match between Wales and Iran. Picture by Jacob King / PA

‘Welcome’

The fans created another spine-tingling moment while singing the national anthem ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ at the beginning of the game, while Iran fans were either silent or whistled and booed throughout theirs.

Neither team’s players followed the lead of the German team who used their team picture prior to their match against Japan to protest against Fifa’s decision to impose sporting sanctions on captains who wear the One Love armband – a symbol of LGBTQ+ rights.

A number of supporters in the crowd wore rainbow coloured hats and other items, despite some having them confiscated at the game against the USA on Monday.

On Thursday the Football Association of Wales said Fifa had confirmed that fans will be able to wear rainbow garments inside stadium and urged the body to “to adhere to their message that everybody will be welcome in Qatar”.

Former Wales captain Laura McAllister said she would have worn her bucket hat even if Fifa had not offered reassurances. She told PA news agency: “I was always going to wear my rainbow bucket hat to today’s game, regardless of what we heard back from Fifa, but I’m really pleased we’ve been able to force Fifa’s hand on this.”

Arwel Owen said what happened on Monday had “spurred” him on to wear his rainbow bucket hat to the match.

The 38-year-old, from Hendy, said he is not a member of the LGBT community but felt it was important to be a supporter.

“I don’t have any shame in supporting the movement wholeheartedly.

“I’ve been a follower of the Rainbow Wall for a while and have followed the women’s side for years, so I feel it’s important to make this small stand.”

Iran fans show their support during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al-Rayyan. Picture by Martin Rickett / PA

Protest

Tensions reportedly flared near the stadium between pro-government fans said to have been harassing anti-government supporters, with a female supporter left shaken by the encounters.

Following the game, a small group of Iranian men and women stood playing and singing ‘Barayeh’, an Iranian protest song, as people gathered around and stood watch.

They also chanted ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ a slogan that has become popular during demonstrations in response to the death of Magda Amini.

Wales captain Gareth Bale once again passed a bucket hat to Iran’s captain at the kick-off.

Bale, 33, became Wales’ most-capped player, making his 110th appearance.


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Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
14 days ago

“But it does make you feel like the golden era of Wales football is coming to an end, the sun is setting on the team.” My god we’re a melodramatic nation! This isn’t the English Rugby Team circa 2003, where we have a dad’s army of talent, nurtured to the exclusion of all who come after, leaving a vaccum behind them. Most of our team is still young. Our success is not reliant solely on Bale and Ramsey. Maybe results will dip when Bale hangs up the shirt. Maybe they won’t. Cymru works precisely because ours is a closely knit… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
George Thomas
George Thomas
14 days ago

We pushed our ceiling a little bit higher.

Togetherness, desperation for World Cup trip and little bit of magic got us to the big stage, but we needed a little bit more tactical awareness, match fitness and depth to make an impression.

The next generation have been set a new challenge – let’s not wait another 64 years and let’s match how good things have been off the pitch on the pitch next time.

Glen
Glen
14 days ago

It wasn’t only Bale and Ramsey that looked off the pace.
When the entire team put in substandard performances for the second game running, then you have to ask questions of the management.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
14 days ago
Reply to  Glen

I see what you mean but 2 poor performances is hardly a trend

Jack
Jack
14 days ago

Maybe we needed to do more coverage of Michael Sheen’s speech?
We had the speech, then the speech set to music, then the speech set to animation, but it wasn’t enough!

After all, speeches win football matches! Not tactics or having players that play regular football.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
14 days ago
Reply to  Jack

I think you may be conflating correllation and causation here with an admixture of sarcasm. President Sheen’s speech was carnival. Motivation at best. Nobody thought it would win matches, but it does raise energy levels. What was lacking today, was energy in some of the older legs, and confidence. Iran took the half chances every time. Cymru tried to set up every shot perfectly. A sure sign of nervousness. Maybe they let the occasion or Iran’s darting counterattacks get into their heads. They had worked so hard to qualify that they were cautious because they were scared they’d blow it… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
14 days ago

Our team tried their best and they put Wales on the world stage. Da iawn hogiau, proud of you!🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

My sentiments too Mr Williams, we played during the hottest part of the day against a local team playing for their lives…literally!

…and Iran were also the bravest team at the World Cup…by miles…

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