Wales vs Iran, live updates, news, scores, results, how to watch, England vs USA, Qatar vs Senegal, Netherlands vs Ecuador

All 32 World Cup competitors have played their first match in Qatar. Now the group stage heats up, with elimination well and truly on the line – as is qualification to the Round of 16.

And Friday night began with a stunning match as another Asian confederation nation pulled off an upset, with Iran beating Wales 2-0 in a rollercoaster match featuring the tournament’s first red card – for a truly wild challenge.

Then, hosts Qatar look to bounce back from their dismal opener when they face reigning African champions Senegal, who also lost their first match (2-0 against the Netherlands). Defeat would all-but-eliminate the loser.

The Netherlands play the third match overnight, facing Ecuador in a battle for the top spot in Group A.

Finally, it’s a Group B blockbuster when England face USA at 6am AEDT, with England hoping for a win that would book their place in the knockout stages.

Follow FIFA World Cup Matchday 6 in our live blogs below, including Wales v Iran (9pm AEDT), Qatar v Senegal (12am AEDT), Netherlands v Ecuador (3am AEDT) and England v USA (6am AEDT).

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IRAN PULL OFF CRAZY WIN

Having been beaten 6-2 by England in their World Cup opener, Iran bounced back with a magnificent performance to beat Wales 2-0 in a rollercoaster match.

Iran spurned a golden opportunity in the first half when they had a goal ruled out for offside, before hitting the woodwork twice in 25 seconds in the second half.

The Middle East nation had dominated most of the match, but Wales grimly held on – until it all unraveled at the end.

Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy – who had made a brilliant save earlier in the match – raced out of his box and made a wild head-high tackle on Iran striker Mehdi Taremi, missing the ball completely and flattening his rival.

The referee – amazingly – only awarded a yellow card, but a VAR review quickly convinced him to change his mind and award the first send-off of the competition so far.

Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran is fouled by Wayne Hennessey of Wales during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran.Source: Getty Images
Hennessey shown a red card by referee Mario Alberto Escobar Toca.Source: Getty Images
Iran’s forward #09 Mehdi Taremi receives medical treatment.Source: AFP

Iran, desperate to win, poured forwards at the death, before Rouzbeh Chesmi scored a staggering long-range strike in the 98th minute to break the deadlock. It was just his second international goal, and his first in four years.

Not to be outdone, Ramin Rezaeian scored on another counter-attack in the 101st minute – his first international goal in six years.

Carlos Queiroz’s Iran would have been eliminated from the tournament had they lost to Wales, who drew their opener with the US.

Now, it is Wales who are on the brink of an exit from the tournament, needing to beat England in their final match. Captain Gareth Bale became the nation’s most-capped player when he took to the field for the 110th time, but could not find the net.

MATCH CENTRE: Line-ups, stats, play-by-play

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QATAR ‘FREE FROM PRESSURE’ AFTER WOEFUL START

Qatar are in desperate need of a response after slumping to a dark 2-0 loss to Ecuador in the tournament curtain-raiser which saw the majority of the crowd leave before the final whistle.

Another defeat could see the Asian Cup holders become only the second home team to crash out in the group stage, after South Africa in 2010.

“We hope that now we are free from all the pressure that we had in the opening match,” said Qatar coach Felix Sanchez. “I hope we can compete and bring our ‘A Game’.”

MATCH CENTRE: Line-ups, stats, play-by-play

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DUTCH MAKE MASSIVE TITLE STATEMENT

Louis van Gaal’s Dutch team could also go through from Group A with a win over Ecuador but would need hosts Qatar to draw with Senegal.

The Oranje edged to a 2-0 success against the African champions in their first outing with late goals from in-form youngster Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen.

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The Netherlands, three-time runners-up, are playing at the World Cup for the first time since finishing third under Van Gaal in 2014.

“We are here to become world champions,” Van Gaal said on the eve of the game.

MATCH CENTRE: Line-ups, stats, play-by-play

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ENGLAND EYE ‘HISTORY’ … AND REVENGE

Gareth Southgate’s men kicked off their campaign with a 6-2 rout of Iran who took on Wales in Friday’s first Group B game.

Regardless of the result of that match, England would progress by beating the Americans, but will have to overcome a talented young side and the weight of history.

The USA knocked England out of the 1950 tournament with one of the biggest shocks in World Cups and in 2010 held a star-studded team to a 1-1 draw best remembered for a howler by English goalkeeper Rob Green.

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“Have we ever beaten the US at a World Cup? But. Tomorrow we have to try and make history,” Southgate told a pre-match press conference.

“We are good at talking highly of ourselves as a nation on very little evidence. We know we will face a very highly motivated team. I don’t think we will be underestimating the US at all.” England are still bidding for a first major tournament title in 56 years after losing last year’s European Championship final to Italy on penalties.

They were given a boost ahead of the USA game, though, as captain Harry Kane passed fit despite taking a knock to his ankle against Iran.

According to reports in England, Gareth Southgate is set to name an unchanged team.

MATCH CENTRE: Line-ups, stats, play-by-play

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