Gareth Bale scored a late penalty to help Wales earn a 1-1 draw against the USA to begin their first World Cup campaign after 64 years on a relatively positive note.

In front of a boisterous crowd at Al Rayyan Stadium, both teams gave a preview of what was to come within the first 15 minutes with several close calls and hard fouls.

Timothy Weah finally put the USA ahead in the 36th minute, finishing off a quick counterattack after being put through by Christian Pulisic.

The tide changed in the second half with Wales the better side for the remainder of the game but they could not find a breakthrough until Walker Zimmerman fouled Bale in the penalty area.

Wales’ captain then put an unstoppable strike past Matt Turner to rescue a valuable for his side.

The USA will now take on Senegal in their next match while Wales faces England in their next assignment looking to secure passage into the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Earlier in the day, England smashed Iran 6-2 in their first matchup of the tournament.

Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka (2), Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish managed to get on the scoresheet for Gareth Southgate’s side while Mehdi Taremi scored both goals for Iran.

In the third match of the day, late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen helped the Netherlands beat Sadio Mane-less Senegal 2-0 in their opening game of the World Cup.

Today, three more matches will be played with Argentina taking on Saudi Arabia at 3:00 PM (PKT), Denmark facing Tunisia at 6:00 PM and Mexico vs Poland at 9:00 PM.

France will take on Australia at 00:00 AM tonight.

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