Wales and Iran head into their Group B fixture at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Friday aware that victory could take them a pivotal step towards qualification for the World Cup knockout stages.
After Iran had lost 6-2 to England on Monday, Wales came from behind to earn a deserved share of the spoils against USA later in the day.
After England had thrashed Iran, Wales and USA went into their respective game in Al Rayyan knowing that they could ill-afford defeat, and a 1-1 draw would have been the most popular prediction pre-match.
Nevertheless, neither side particularly played in a manner where they were settling for a point, and Wales were fortunate to still be in the contest come the half-time whistle.
In the second half, it was a different story, the Dragons squandering a number of openings before Gareth Bale scored his first-ever World Cup goal from the penalty spot.
While Wales’ star man was below his influential best, his confident effort from 12 yards has put Wales in a position where their fate will be in their own hands if they can defeat Iran.
However, despite the draw being regarded as a point gained in the grand scheme of things, Robert Page’s side are now winless in six outings and have only prevailed once in nine matches.
Form counted for little as Iran were thoroughly outclassed by England, Carlos Quieroz’s side looking a shadow of the team that had previously collected a win and a draw from Uruguay and Senegal in September.
To Team Melli’s credit, they never gave up and scored two consolation goals in the final quarter, the second coming from an extremely debatable penalty decision based on the threshold which had been used previously in the match.
Mehdi Taremi’s double highlighted his threat in the attack, and a substitute outing from Sardar Azmoun after injury will only encourage Iran ahead of this contest.
Despite the presence of the aforementioned duo, Iran have not netted more than twice in a game in nine attempts, something which is ideally required as they look to reduce their negative difference.