England kicked off their World Cup marketing campaign in type as they thrashed Iran 6-2 due to a brace from Bukayo Saka and efforts from Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish.
Bellingham opened the scoring along with his first England purpose within the thirty fifth minute whereas Sterling and Saka helped Gareth Southgate’s aspect set up a snug 3-0 lead earlier than half-time.
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Saka produced a superb particular person effort to take England additional out of sight simply previous the hour mark earlier than Mehdi Taremi netted a comfort for Iran, however substitutes Rashford and Grealish put the gloss on the Three Lions’ Group B debut regardless of a stoppage-time penalty from Taremi.
There have been issues earlier than kick-off as followers skilled points with their tickets with the FIFA app down, resulting in swathes of empty seats on the Khalifa Worldwide Stadium near kick-off.
Iran’s gamers didn’t sing the nationwide anthem. Many followers again dwelling have accused the squad of siding with the violent state crackdown on standard protests after the loss of life of Mahsa Amini in September following her arrest for sporting a scarf incorrectly.
State tv in Iran didn’t present the footage of the gamers lining up because the anthem performed in its dwell broadcast, in keeping with Reuters.
Iran suffered an early blow when goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand collided with teammate Majid Hosseini. Beiranvand initially performed on, earlier than being stretchered off within the nineteenth minute.
Southgate’s group virtually took the lead within the thirty second minute when Harry Maguire rose highest from a Kieran Trippier nook, however his header cannoned off the crossbar. They broke the impasse shortly afterwards when Bellingham headed dwelling unmarked from Luke Shaw’s lofted cross.
England pulled clear with two quickfire targets earlier than half-time. Saka produced a nice half-volley from a Maguire knockdown to extend England’s lead within the forty third minute, earlier than Sterling completed on the volley following a right-footed cross from Harry Kane in stoppage time — the Chelsea ahead’s first World Cup purpose.
It grew to become an train in harm limitation for Iran after the break, however Saka punished them once more within the 62nd minute when he side-stepped previous two defenders within the field and curled dwelling a low effort along with his left boot.
Iran discovered a purpose from nowhere three minutes later, nonetheless, when Taremi seized on a second of hesitation from Maguire to ghost in and smash previous Jordan Pickford.
Rashford got here on as an alternative and coolly slotted dwelling his first purpose at a serious event within the 71st minute to re-establish England’s four-goal lead. There was nonetheless time for Grealish to attain late on as he turned dwelling following unselfish work from fellow substitute Callum Wilson.
Sardar Azmoun virtually added one other comfort for Iran when he raced via in stoppage time, however Pickford produced a fingertip save to show his effort onto the bar. Iran have been awarded a late penalty after a VAR examine for a foul on Morteza Pouraliganji, nonetheless, and Taremi slotted dwelling to revive some delight for Iran.
Info from Reuters contributed to this report.