Proud Welsh fans stand by team despite devastating World Cup loss to Iran

'The fans had come with such high hopes, but will now be wondering if their first World Cup in 64 years might already be over' - Chloe Keedy reports

They came in their thousands to the Ahmed bin Ali stadium, hoping to witness another piece of history.

On Monday, Wales fans watched their team play in a World Cup match for the first time in 64 years. Today, they wanted to see them go one better and win.

Despite the heat (and the beer ban), spirits were high ahead of the game.

One fan described it as a "carnival atmosphere", and everyone we spoke to reckoned Wales "had this in the bag".

They were confident of their chances against Iran, who England had thrashed 6-2 in their previous game.

But how wrong they were.

Iran were the stronger side in a fast paced, often frantic game.

Iran had most of the chances, and Wales’ manager Rob Page has admitted their performance just wasn’t up to scratch.

They were hanging on by their fingertips when a reckless challenge by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy, in the final few minutes of normal time, saw him get handed the first red card of the tournament.

Wales were down to ten men but the game was into injury time.

And then, with two minutes to go, Iran scored. Not once, but twice. A devastating end to the match for Wales, but it was the result Iran’s performance deserved.

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The stadium erupted when the final whistle went - both the players and the fans determined to soak up every last bit of their success.

Captain Gareth Bale looked inconsolable. Today, he became Wales’ most capped player ever, but that must feel bittersweet now.

He knows the odds are stacked against them. His team would have to beat England on Tuesday and hope that other results go in their favour to be in with any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

The fans we spoke to outside the stadium afterwards were disappointed too.

One joked that he hoped his country didn’t qualify for another World Cup, because it’s all been "a bit painful"!

But most said they’d cherished the journey, and that they would always be proud of their team for getting to a World Cup at all.