Wales face ‘better prepared’ Iran
Wales head into their Group B fixture against Iran at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Friday aware that victory could help them take a pivotal step towards qualification for the World Cup knockout stages.
After Iran had lost 6-2 to England on Monday, Wales came from behind to earn a deserved share of the spoils against the USA later that day.
A late Gareth Bale penalty earned Wales a 1-1 draw against the United States in their opening match and a first win at the World Cup since 1958 they will now target to take all three points against Iran.
But Wales Harry Wilson, who played a full part against the USA, is expecting Iran to put up far more of a fight than they did against England.
"It was a difficult result for them. England was always going to be difficult," Wilson said.
"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."
Bale won the penalty in which he converted against the USA and now has 41 goals in 109 caps for his country – only team-mate Chris Gunter has played as many times.
"He drags us through tough games and got his goal," Wilson said. "His performances over the years, I think he deserves to play at the World Cup before he retires."
Following their heavy loss to England, Iran have now lost seven and drawn two of their nine meetings with European teams in the tournament, conceding 20 goals.
Anything other than victory against Wales will leave Carlos Queiroz facing an early exit from Qatar 2022, but the former Manchester United assistant has faith in his players.
"My view [of the England game] is simple and very pragmatic: the game finished in the first half when we conceded the goals we are not used to conceding," he said.