IT was that man again for Wales. Their talismanic captain Gareth Bale who got the goal that saw them steal a share of the points in their feisty Group ‘B’ opener of the World Cup against the United States on Monday night.
The former Real Madrid forward has been the catalyst for his national side that has punched above its weight to end a 64-year wait to qualify for the finals in Qatar.
Here, they had been second best for long periods but their resilience showed in the end when 10 minutes from time, with the US holding a single-goal lead, Walter Zimmerman went through Bale from behind in the box. Bale dusted himself and sent a rocket of a penalty past Matt Turner to secure a 1-1 draw for his side.
The stalemate followed a 6-2 romp for England over Iran in the other group game and the US, licking their wounds and wondering how the game they seemingly had in the bag slipped, will next be up against England.
Fans living in the US were among those to have topped the list of international buyers for the World Cup and they certainly made their presence felt at the 45000-capacity Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
Wales had a sizeable contingent of their own, they were being drowned out by the chants of “USA, USA”. For every touch, for every pass, for every attack.
The vibes in the stands were being reciprocated on the pitch as well.
Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2022