Gareth Bale says Wayne Hennessey’s red card against Iran made his life difficult but refused to blame the Wales keeper.
The first Dragon World Cup in 64 years is set to end at the first hurdle, after Rob Page’s men suffered a 2-0 defeat on Friday morning.
Late goals from Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian gave Iran just their third World Cup victory and Wales their first loss of this campaign.
Page’s men were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Hennessey received marching orders for a foul on striker Mehdi Taremi, after he missed a clearance attempt.
First shown a yellow card, following a VAR check after protests from the Iranian team, Guatemalan referee Mario Escobar then waved a red.
Bale insisted the result was hard to swallow but they can’t blame anyone for the loss.
“Obviously up to ten men we always try to score or keep it 0-0,” he told talkSPORT.
“It’s difficult the last ten minutes, everyone is tired of flooding the front, it’s difficult, and hard to take.
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“All we can do is recover, look back at where it went wrong and try to improve and we’re on our way again.
“It’s difficult when someone goes down to ten men, especially in a World Cup against good teams.
“It’s difficult, it happens, and obviously we don’t blame anyone, it happens in football, and it’s hard to take.
“I always believed that at 0-0 we might have had a chance to win the game, and we always believed that.
“We were trying to stay on the front foot, and I think you saw with the changes to Brennan [Johnson] and DJ [Dan James]it was to keep attacking and put the ball in the box.
“We wanted to try to win the game, but obviously going down to ten men is difficult, and we were punished at the end.”
The defeat leaves Wales bottom of Group B, ahead of their clash with England next Tuesday.
Bale and his team-mates must secure a hard-fought victory over England and hope the United States and Iran draw if they are to have any chance of progressing.
“Yes, that’s what we have to try to do. We have to recover and go again. It’s that simple.”
It is not impossible for Page’s men to make it to the knockout stages, but based on the teams’ performance so far in Qatar, Wales’ first World Cup since 1958, it seems that it is in serious danger of ending.
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