Doha, Qatar – Gareth Bale converted an 82nd-minute penalty to equalize Tim Weah’s first-half goal and give Wales a 1-1 draw on Monday’s return to the World Cup for both nations.
Weah, son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberian President George Weah, scored after a 36th-minute pass from Christian Pulisic.
Back in the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the United States seemed on course to victory. But Walker Zimmerman plowed down Bale from behind with his back to the Welsh star’s goal and hosts Qatar’s referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim pointed to the penalty spot.
Bale found his kick to the left of goalkeeper Matt Turner’s outstretched arm for his 41st goal in 109 internationals, salvaging a point for Wales in their first World Cup game since 1958.
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Timothy Weah celebrates after scoring the United States’ first goal during the Group B match of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 between USA and Wales at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Next up for the United States is a high-profile matchup against England on Friday, the same day Wales take on Iran. England opened with a 6-2 win over the Iranians on Monday.
Tim Weah, just 22, was part of a revamped American team that is the second youngest in the tournament.
Pulisic, America’s top player and one of the few remnants of failure in 2017 qualifying, stormed into midfield in a move that led to goal. Weah timed his run perfectly as Pulisic passed and broke in front of Neco Williams.
From close to the penalty area, Weah used the side of his right foot to slip the ball over sliding goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey’s left thigh to score his fourth goal in 26 caps.
Weah ran toward the American fans with his arms outstretched, sliding on both knees. He was bullied by teammates, then raised both hands to the sky and blew a kiss into the sky.
George Weah, who has never played at a World Cup, planned to be at the game.
Thousands of supporters in the Rote Wand filled one end of the lower bowl and sang throughout.
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In the 750th cap in US history, the Americans started with a record 10 players from European clubs, with only Major League Soccer’s Zimmerman among them. DeAndre Yedlin, who came on in the 74th minute, was the only American player with World Cup experience.
USA’s goalkeeper Matt Turner (R) tipps the ball over the during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 21, 2022 Bar. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Get
Josh Sargent almost gave the Americans the lead in the 10th minute when he headed off an Antonee Robinson cross and hit the post.
Ben Davies’ header in the 64th minute was pushed over the bar by a jumping gymnast.
The game was played in the Arabian desert west of Doha at the remodeled Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, which is lit in brilliant colors and features an exterior facade designed to replicate undulating sand dunes.
The US Soccer Association sold approximately 3,300 tickets and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was in attendance among the 43,418 spectators.
Three Americans received yellow cards for rough tackles and would be suspended if another was assessed: Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie and Tim Ream.
young at heart
Yunus Musah became the youngest American to start a World Cup game at 19 years and 358 days, 19 days younger than DaMarcus Beasley in 2022, and Tyler Adams at 23 became the youngest US World Cup captain since Harry Keough and Walter Bahr in 1950.
Turner and Zimmerman played their first competitive games in a month and McKennie – with newly dyed red, white and blue hair – his first in three weeks. Ream was paired with Zimmerman at central defence, his first international appearance in 14 months.
For Wales, Hennessey was playing just his second game since late September and Bale was making his second start in two months.