In his nation’s first World Cup match in 64 years, Gareth Bale came to Wales’ rescue once more as the captain’s late penalty saved a draw against the United States.
In a first half that was dominated by an energetic USA team, Tim Weah’s well-placed goal gave Wales the lead after Christian Pulisic’s ferocious run and ball.
Ben Davies and Kieffer Moore both came close to tying the score after Wales’ halftime substitution of striker Kieffer Moore. This newfound vigour and purpose turned a one-sided game into a genuine contest.
After being previously unnoticed, Bale was clattered in the area by Tim Ream with nine minutes remaining, and he comfortably whipped his penalty into the goal to erupt the travelling Welsh fans behind that goal.
Wales played well in the game’s closing minutes, elated to have earned a point on their eagerly anticipated World Cup comeback after it had looked like they were headed for a loss that would have meant an early exit from the tournament.
Instead, Robert Page’s team will head back to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Friday to take on Iran, who had earlier been destroyed 6-2 by England. They know that a win would offer them a chance to advance to the second round.
In order to enjoy this comeback and the advantages it will bring to their hopes of extending their World Cup adventure, Wales can put off thoughts of their group stage match against England, which is scheduled for next Tuesday.