Gareth Bale scored Wales’ first World Cup goal in 64 years as his penalty kick earned his country a 1-1 draw with the United States.
Wales came back strong in the second half in a display at odds with their first-half performance reminiscent of former Tottenham striker Dean Saunders.
Wales had been waiting since 1958 for a World Cup draw, but it was not the ideal opening 45 minutes they were hoping for.
Without Joe Allen in midfield through injury, Wales struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 45 minutes as they soaked up the pressure for the United States.
It was no surprise when USA star Timothy Weah broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, becoming the first person to score against Wales at a World Cup since Pele in 1958.
After coming off the break without any notable chances, former Wales striker Saunders summed up the first-half performance in a way that can be universally understood – at least by football fans.
“We can’t rush, we haven’t pressed once. Of all the Wales games I’ve watched, this is one game we didn’t insist on. I’m shocked,” he said in a commentary for talkSPORT.
He continued: “That first half reminds me of how Spurs play.”
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The second half was a different story however, with Robert Page calling on Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore for Fulham star Daniel James.
USA failed to hit the target after the restart and Wales came painfully close to scoring, only for Arsenal keeper Matt Turner to tip Ben Davies’ effort over the top. of the bar.
Straight after, Wales were unlucky again, with substitute Moore’s header from the resulting corner also going just over the bar.
Then, with just under ten minutes to play, Wales were awarded a penalty after Walker Zimmerman slipped past Gareth Bale in the box.
Wales’ top scorer seized the opportunity and converted from the spot, despite Turner putting the finger on his effort – sending the Welsh fans behind goal in rapture.
“Are we surprised? Saunders said after the Wales skipper scored.
“If you ever want someone to take a penalty ten minutes from time, he’s your man!”
Wales and the United States now sit second in Group B, with England leading after a 6-2 win over bottom-placed Iran.
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