By Paul Jones
Wales striker Kieffer Moore plans to torment Iran in the air just like England did.
England smashed six past Iran in their World Cup opener, with the Iranians having no answer to the Three Lions’ aerial power.
The 6ft 5in Moore watched the first half of that game before Wales set off for their tournament opener – a 1-1 draw against the United States – and is confident of wreaking more havoc on the Iran defence.
Asked if he had been licking his lips at Iran’s defensive problems, Moore said: “I was, yeah – they did struggle in the air.
“You could see England’s dominance in the box. They took a lead straight away and that set the tone for the game.
“It was 3-0 at half-time and England played really well to utilise those positions to get the ball into the box.
“If we can replicate that then hopefully we’ll get the same outcome.”
Kieffer Moore's game by numbers vs USA:
45 minutes played
5 touches in opp. box (most for Wales)
3 final third entries
3 duels won
2 aerial duels won
1 chance created
The game changed with his introduction. 💪 pic.twitter.com/bNvNy5UoZ3
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 21, 2022
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand suffered a head injury in the early stages of England’s 6-2 victory after colliding with team-mate Majid Hosseini.
Beiranvand was allowed to play on despite the clash of heads leaving him with a bloodied nose, only to soon fall to the floor again and be replaced by backup goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini.
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz had his head in his hands when Beiranvand came off, and it is unlikely that the first-choice goalkeeper will play against Wales.
Moore said: “If they are losing their number-one goalkeeper, it’s going to be tough for another person to come in.
“It means a rejig for them and it plays into our hands.”
Bournemouth striker Moore changed the course of Wales’ game against the USA after being introduced at half-time.
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) November 21, 2022
Wales were 1-0 down after an awful 45 minutes, failing to create a single chance, with forwards Gareth Bale and Daniel James completely isolated.
But Moore’s presence gave them a focal point to build attacks and pressure, which eventually ended with Bale winning a penalty and equalising from the spot eight minutes from time.
“I wanted to impose myself on the game and do what I could, so hopefully I am in a position to start on Friday,” said Moore.
“Over the past four or five years, I feel like I’ve really grown as a player and I really enjoy these big moments.
“When I’m called upon for these moments, I’ve always put up performances and I can’t wait for Friday.”
August 2012 – Truro City Debut ✅
September 2013 – EFL Debut ✅
September 2019 – 🏴 Debut ✅
June 2021 – European Championship Debut ✅
August 2022 – Premier League Debut ✅
November 2022 – World Cup Debut 🔜
— Truro City FC (@TCFC_Official) November 21, 2022
Moore, who started out at Truro and Dorchester, trawled the lower leagues at Yeovil, Forest Green and Torquay and even had a spell in Norwegian football before hitting the big time, has been pigeon-holed as an old-fashioned targetman.
But the 30-year-old believes he has more to his game than that, saying: “I’m deceptively quick and I like to play on that because people think with my size I can’t move. But I am quicker than people think.
“I have that physical and height advantage, so I like to play to my strengths.
“But I also have a willingness to run and work for the team.”