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England 6-2 Iran: Gareth Southgate's side make flying start in Qatar World Cup

Nick Wilhelm

Updated: Nov 22, 2022 02:16

England 6-2 Iran: Gareth Southgate's side make flying start in Qatar World Cup


England beat Iran 6-2 to get their World Cup campaign in Qatar off to a fast start under Gareth Southgate.

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Report as England hit six past Iran in World Cup opener; Bellingham scored first England goal; Saka and Sterling strikes saw England race into 3-0 lead; Saka added his second of game; Rashford and Grealish rounded off big win in Doha; Taremi scored two consolation goals for Iran.


Bukayo Saka celebrates after putting England 2-0 up

The Three Lions got things started with a goal from Jude Bellingham (35), and after goals from Bukayo Saka (43) and Raheem Sterling (45+1), they had a three-goal lead at the half.

Saka added his second goal of the match for England in the second half with another deft finish (62), but Mehdi Taremi's goal for Iran served as a wake-up call for Southgate's team (65).

With just his third touch (71) after entering the field, replacement Marcus Rashford added a fifth goal for England, and another substitute, Jack Grealish, added a sixth (90).

Big moments in the game...

8 mins: Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand collides nastily into team-mate Hosseini Majid. He is initially allowed to continue but minutes later signals to the bench to be replaced before he’s stretchered from the field.

35 mins: Jude Bellingham scores his first international goal and England’s first of the tournament.

43 mins: Bukayo Saka doubles England’s lead after latching onto Harry Maguire’s knock down and firing a fine finish past sub goalkeeper Seyed Hossein Hosseini.

45+1 mins: England grab a third as Raheem Sterling turns in Harry Kane’s cross for his first World Cup goal.

45+5: Almoez Ali heads Qatar’s best chance wide in first-half stoppage time

62 mins: Saka adds his second of the game as England go 4-0 up against Iran.

65 mins: Iran pull a goal back through Mehdi Taremi.

71 mins: Sub Marcus Rashford scores with his third touch to add England’s fifth.

90 mins: Jack Grealish rounds off big win for England after being set up by fellow sub Callum Wilson.

90+13 mins: Taremi added his second of the game from the penalty spot after John Stones was adjudged to have fouled the striker in the penalty area.

How England stormed to an opening win in Qatar...


As spectators sought to enter the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, they encountered ticket issues, and Iran's players decided not to perform the national anthem prior to the Group B match in support of anti-government demonstrators back home.

As soon as play began, England believed they should have been awarded a penalty when Harry Maguire was touched in the penalty area by Rouzbeh Cheshmi after Kieran Tripper's corner kick.

As England's center backs attacked the ball, Morteza Pouraliganji was also holding John Stones, but Brazilian referee Raphael Claus waved down the penalty requests before VAR upheld the on-field judgments.

As Iran's goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand attempted to block a deadly Harry Kane cross, he badly collided with teammate Hosseini Majid, breaking whatever rhythm England had established in the opening minutes.

Beiranvand received care on the ground for a while. Unexpectedly, he was permitted to continue even though he appeared to be in no condition to continue. However, after signaling to the bench and slumping to the ground, he was eventually taken away on a stretcher and replaced by backup goalie Seyed Hossein Hosseini.


Iran's goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand receives treatment following a clash of heads with a team-mate

After the required break, England quickly regained its momentum. Maguire attempted to head in Trippier's corner, but his attempt hit the crossbar.

However, Bellingham's first-ever goal for his country meant that England didn't have to wait long to score their first goal of the competition. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder went to his highest point to glance the ball into the far corner after Luke Shaw blasted it in from the left.


Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal vs Iran

Saka capitalized on Maguire's turnover and fired a fantastic shot into the roof of the net to extend England's lead. Sterling's deft finish from Kane's cross capped a faultless opening 45 minutes for Southgate's team.

Following the break, Saka added his second goal of the match by moving the ball to his left foot, slipping past two Iran defenders, and shooting past Hosseini.

When Taremi separated from Maguire to receive a pass from Ali Gholizadeh and fire a first-time shot past Pickford via the underside of the crossbar, England was denied a clean sheet.

After that, Southgate made two attacking substitutions, and they were responsible for England's final score. After being set free by Kane's ball, Rashford added England's fifth goal with his third touch. Callum Wilson then played selflessly, setting up Grealish for a tap-in goal that brought the score to six.

After a VAR review, Stones was found to have fouled Taremi, and Taremi converted the penalty to give England a last-second lead and match their largest World Cup victory.


Iran's Mehdi Taremi collects the ball after scoring Iran's first goal

Opta stats: England hit six at the World Cup again…


Jack Grealish is congratulated by Phil Foden after scoring England's sixth goal

England (6-2) won their first match at a major event (World Cup/EUROs) with the biggest win of all time, and they scored six or more goals for just the second time in their history against Panama in the 2018 World Cup (6-1).

For the first time in their history, England had two players age 21 or under score in a single World Cup game thanks to goals from Jude Bellingham (19 years old) and Bukayo Saka (21 years old).

Raheem Sterling has scored in all 16 of England's games across all competitions, and today's goal, which came in his 10th World Cup appearance, marked his first-ever World Cup goal.

What the result means...


Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal with team-mate Mason Mount

Wales and the USA, who play later on Monday, are currently trailing England and Iran in Group B's early standings (kick-off 7pm).

On Friday, November 25, at 7 p.m., England plays the United States in their second group match; at 10 a.m., Iran plays Wales.

The Group B winners will compete against the Group A runners-up, which includes the Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, and the host nation Qatar. The losers of Group A will compete against the Group B runner-up.

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