The debut match for the Wales national team appeared to be made just for Gareth Bale. After nine years with record European Cup winners Real Madrid, where he had won five Champions League titles and three Spanish championships, the 33-year-old forward came to Los Angeles in the summer to live out his golden years and prepare for his first World Cup with Wales. Just the nation where Bale first met his fellow citizens.
On Monday night, Timothy Weah, an American, had to share the spotlight with the attacking specialist, just as Wales and the USA had to split the points in their 1-1 tie. Due to the draw, both nations are now even more involved in a long-distance battle for second place in Group B, which qualifies them to move on to the round of 16, behind the English, who are the favorites.
Timothy Weah, the game-winning goal scorer, is a 22-year-old native of Brooklyn, New York. He is also the legendary George Weah’s son, who has served as Liberia’s 25th president since 2018 and was one of the continent’s greatest football players. His achievements in sports, like being named World Player of the Year in 1995 while playing for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, were never less important than his humanitarian work. Weah Senior, a Liberian international, was, however, never allowed to play in a World Cup. The West African nation has never entered a competition of this kind before.
Filius Timothy followed in his father’s footsteps by scoring the first goal for the USA in the 36th minute, making at least a small amount of football history. Weah maintained his composure in front of Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey following a superb assist from his teammate Christian Pulisic, then purposefully drove the ball past him. While celebrating the goal near the corner flag, striker Weah naturally didn’t have much time to collect himself; in contrast, Bale straightened his unique braided hairstyle at the center circle. He had dressed particularly nicely for this game because it was meant to be his gala evening in the dazzling metropolis of Doha.
He has had to wait until now, along with the rest of his side, to win a World Cup with Wales. The wait was 64 years for the people of Wales. Three million people lived in the British Isles at the time, and the nation made it all the way to the quarterfinals in 1958 before falling just short to Brazil. The winning goal was scored by 17-year-old Pelé. Bale is respected on a par with Pelé, at least inside Wales, despite his reputation not quite matching the legendary status Pelé has in the game.
Gareth Bale, who was virtually unnoticed for a while, earns two scorer points with just one move.
He is rumored to possess magical abilities in his own country—at least after he nearly single-handedly won his nation’s World Cup qualification by making pivotal plays in the playoff matches against Austria and Ukraine. In fact, Bale frequently reminds people more of an action hero than a football player because of his explosive and athletic style of play.
But of his several outstanding acts and goals against the USA, there was hardly anything to be seen. After a poor first half in which the USA’s midfield of Weston McKennie, 24, Tyler Adams, 23, and Yunus Musah, 19, performed admirably light-footed, the game continued with Bale’s suspension as he continued to inch closer to the opposition’s goal. As the leader of his side, he was first entirely cut off from the action until, in the 82nd minute of the game, he skillfully gained a penalty with his first notable circumstance in the final phase and converted it himself. Gareth Bale was at the center of the game, at least with Timothy Weah, as a result of the Welsh fans’ prolonged standing ovation in response.