Wales hold USA to 1-1 draw in opening World Cup game amid LGBTQ controversy

21 November 2022, 21:14 | Updated: 21 November 2022, 21:51

Wales held the USA to a 1-1 draw in their opening World Cup match
Wales held the USA to a 1-1 draw in their opening World Cup match. Picture: Getty / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Wales have come back from a goal down to draw against the USA, in a tense World Cup match which saw captain Gareth Bale score from a penalty in the 82nd minute.

Claiming their first World Cup point since 1968, Bale's squad kicked off their campaign in style, holding team USA to a 1-1 draw despite coming in as underdogs.

A game of two halves, the first 45 minutes saw the USA dominate, with striker Timothy Weah poking the ball past Wales defender Wayne Hennessey to score in the 36th minute.

But with the USA going 1-0 up before half time, Wales clawed back possession in the second half, with captain Bale being brought down in the box, resulting in a penalty.

Read more: Rainbow bucket hats snatched from Welsh LGBT supporters by Qatari security ahead of World Cup clash with USA

Read more: Fans pack pubs and millions watch from home and even call in sick as England take lead against Iran

Bale celebrates during USA v Wales: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Bale celebrates during USA v Wales: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Picture: Getty

Stepping up when required, the former Real Madrid star - once the world's most expensive, completing his transfer to the Spanish club for £85.3million in 2013 - scored from the penalty spot despite the pressure.

It came as Wales fans reported having LGBT bucket hats confiscated by Qatari security as they attempted to enter the stadium.

It's also been reported that supporters wearing rainbow t-shirts were told to remove them before being allowed access to the stadium.

It comes amid widespread criticism of Fifa and Qatar’s approach to the support of LGBTQ+ communities at the tournament, with captains including Bale, threatened with yellow cards if they choose to wear OneLove armbands.

FBL-WC-2022-MATCH04-USA-WAL. Picture: Getty

The first match of the Welsh team’s World Cup campaign, Wales now sit middle of Group B, which sees England the only team to so far secure 3 points after their win against Iran earlier this evening.

Bales said: “It’s an amazing feeling to get off the mark personally, but we would much rather have had the three points

“It was a great team performance, especially in the second half when we showed that real grit and determination to get back into the game.

He added: “We are proud of that. We have things to build on and things to work on.

“We made a few tactical changes [at half-time]. It was nothing that DJ [Dan James] did wrong, it was just that we needed different personnel and a slightly different way of playing."

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