Three talking points from USA v Wales at World Cup


Gareth Bale popped up with a late equaliser from the spot as Wales snatched a 1-1 draw against the United States on Monday in their first World Cup match since 1958.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points from the Group B contest:

Bale delivers latest rescue act

A five-time Champions League winner and the driving force of Wales’ successful qualifying campaign, Bale has a knack of rising to the big occasion. But at 33, slowed by recent injuries and lacking match sharpness, Bale’s first World Cup appearance was looking like one to forget after a quiet first 80 minutes for the former Real Madrid star. Barely two weeks ago, Bale’s stoppage-time heroics helped Los Angeles FC win the MLS Cup, and he once more rode to the rescue for Wales in his first start for club or country since September 25. Bale was fouled by Walker Zimmerman inside the area and drilled the resulting penalty past Matt Turner to salvage a point. In the twilight of his glittering career, Wales will need to see more of Bale’s magic of old if they are to avoid a group-stage exit on their return to the World Cup after a 64-year wait.

Weah seizes chance father never had

George Weah was one of Africa’s greatest players — and the continent’s only Ballon d’Or winner in 1995 — but was never able to guide Liberia to the World Cup. As a 10-year-old, Tim Weah accompanied his father, now the president of Liberia, to the 2010 World Cup final. Twelve years on, the Brooklyn-born Weah junior struck the opening goal for the USA on his World Cup debut. Weah, who plays for Lille in France’s Ligue 1, raced onto a through ball from Christian Pulisic, flicking beyond Wayne Hennessey with a finish befitting his father in his prime.

Room to grow for USA youngsters

With an average age of just under 25, the USA have the youngest squad at the World Cup. Gregg Berhalter’s side dominated the first half, overrunning a Wales midfield weakened by the absence of an injured Joe Allen. Yunus Musah, who only turns 20 next week, in particular caught the eye with a series of bursts through the centre of the park. Rob Page’s decision to introduce the towering Kieffer Moore at half-time gave the Welsh a presence in attack sorely lacking until that point. But had it not been for Zimmerman’s rash intervention, it would have been a triumph for youth over experience.

mw/jc



source

Recommended For You

About the Author: Thony