Wales sit last in Group B with just one point going into the final round, following Friday’s dramatic late loss to Iran.
It means Rob Page’s side must beat England on Tuesday to have any chance of avoiding a group stage exit from their first World Cup in 64 years. To reach the round of 16, Wales must either win and hope the other game, between Iran and the United States, ends in a draw, or beat England by four goals. .
“Let go of the handbrake now, we have to go,” defender Mepham said. “We have nothing to lose and sometimes it’s quite dangerous for the other teams, when we have nothing to lose, an injured animal. We have to release the handbrake and charge against England.
“If there is a match for which the group will be motivated, it will be this one. We have shown in the past against quality teams, we can match them. We have to dig deep against England, they are a top team.
After drawing 1-1 in their opener against the United States, Wales looked to be in a good position in the group heading into their second game against an Iranian side who had been beaten 6 -2 by England on Monday.
However, Page’s men delivered a flat performance in a match considered unmissable and although both Iranian goals came in stoppage time, Carlos Queiroz’s side took full advantage of the three points, having already hit the woodwork twice and seen a goal disallowed by VAR. .
The Wales players have fallen to their knees full time and now face the daunting task of getting back up for a third game in nine days, although buoyed by England’s confused display in the tie and virgin from last night with the United States.
“Obviously it’s very difficult, you plan to try and win this game and have a good mood in camp to build momentum going into the last game, but it’s a different task now to try to pick the match. team and go again,” added Mepham. “But 100% when the game comes we’ll be well placed and ready to give our all and fight for everything.”
Wales ended the game with 10 men after goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off late with the scores still level for a mad challenge against Iran striker Mehdi Taremi.
The Nottingham Forest goalkeeper, who will now be suspended for the England clash, initially only received a yellow card, but referee Mario Escobar unsurprisingly turned red after a second viewing.
“To be honest, if the boot was on the other foot, I think we would be yelling at the referee to demand a red card,” admitted Mepham. “That was probably the one Wayne had to do, we seemed in a vulnerable position at the time.
“To be honest, I think Iran always carried this threat. We always seemed a bit vulnerable on the turnover, the gaps were quite big, I don’t know why. But to be honest, a draw doesn’t wouldn’t have been perfect for us. If we had held on it would have been good, but I think we would have wanted three points.