Gareth Bale rescues Wales and ends the American dream

A penalty from the ex-madridista allows the ‘Red Dragons’ to draw against the United States on their return to a World Cup 64 years later


The United States and Wales teams have shared the points (1-1) in their World Cup debut in Qatar, a Group B duel in which Timothy Weah opened the account for the Americans after half an hour and at Gareth Bale, with a penalty in the 82nd minute, managed to salvage a draw for the ‘Red Dragons’ on his return to a World Cup 64 years later.

The duel at the Áhmad bin Ali Stadium in Rayyan left two very different faces, with the US team dominating a first half in which Weah did what his father George Weah, the only African Ballon d’Or and current president of Liberia, could never achieve: play and score in a World Cup.

Weah’s goal, the first goal against Wales in a World Cup since Pelé in 1958, did not intimidate a British team that improved with the entry of Kieffer Moore after the interval and who gave themselves to their great figure, Gareth Bale, who equalized the contest from eleven meters to less than ten minutes to go.

With Chelsea striker Christian Pulisic striking down the left flank and Lille striker Tim Weah insisting in the middle, the North American team showed spark and courage in a start in which Josh Sargent was the first to warn after nine minutes with a shot that repelled the stick.

The ball barely lasted in the boots of the Welsh, who failed to create any danger; Gareth Bale and Daniel James tried to surprise the attentive Walker Zimmerman and Tim Ream on the counterattack, who spoiled any chance for Rob Page’s men.

After half an hour, after a goal kick from Hennessey, Sargent stole a ball that ended up in Pulisic’s boots; the ‘blue’ attacker put on a fantastic filtered pass to Weah, who got rid of Williams and with aplomb defined perfectly inside the area to send the ball into the back of the net (min.36).

Wales looked for a reaction after the break, bringing on Kieffer Moore, who came on for James Moore, and the game changed completely. The Bournemouth striker allowed the ‘Red Dragons’ to seize the initiative, winning all the duels and getting the American central defenders into trouble.

As the British box pressed on, Hennessey appeared to deflect a header from Ben Davies that almost made it 2-0, but Moore was quick to respond with a shot that went over the bar.

The North American coach Gregg Berhalter tried to change the dynamics with a triple substitution in the 74th minute, but everything went to ruin when Zimmerman entered Bale from behind in the area and the referee awarded a penalty. The ex-madridista, now at Los Angeles FC, was in charge of transforming it impeccably to tie the game (min.82) and give Wales a point on their return to a World Cup more than six decades later.


–RESULT: UNITED STATES, 1 – WALES, 1 (1-0, at halftime).


ESTADOS UNIDOS: Turner; Dest (Yedlin, min.74), Zimmerman, Ream, Robinson; Adams, Musah (Acosta, min.74), McKennie (Aaronson, min.66); Weah (Morris, min.88), Sargent (Wright, min.74) y Pulisic.

GALES: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, B. Davies; Roberts, Ampadu (Morrell, min.95), Ramsey, Wilson (Thomas, min.93), N. Williams (Johnson, min.79); James (Moore, min.46) y Bale.


1-0, min.36: Timothy Weah.

1-1, min. 82: Gareth Bale, de penalty.

–REFEREE: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (CAT). He admonished Sergiño Dest (min.11), Weston McKennie (min.13), Tim Ream (min.51) and Kellyn Acosta (min.100) by the United States and Gareth Bale (min.40) and Chris Mepham (min.45+2) by Wales.

–STADIUM: Ahmad bin Ali.