England started their World Cup campaign in style after beating Iran 6-2 thanks to a brace Bukayo Saka and efforts of Jude BellinghamAnd the Raheem SterlingAnd the Marcus Rashford And the Jack Grealish.
Bellingham opened the scoring with his first England goal in the 35th minute while Sterling and Saka helped Gareth Southgate’s side build a comfortable 3-0 lead before half-time.
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Saka produced a fine individual effort to keep England out of sight just after the hour mark Mehdi Tarami He scored a consolation for Iran, but substitutes Rashford and Grealish made the Three Lions’ first appearance in Group Two shine despite a stoppage-time penalty from Taremi.
There were problems before kick-off as fans had issues with their tickets as the FIFA app crashed, resulting in vacant spaces of seats at Khalifa International Stadium near kick-off.
Iran’s players did not sing the national anthem. Many fans back home accused the team of siding with the state’s violent crackdown on popular protests following the death of Mahsa Amini in September after she was arrested for improperly wearing a hijab.
Iran’s state television did not show footage of players lining up during the national anthem on its live broadcast, according to Reuters.
Southgate’s side almost took the lead in the 32nd minute when Harry Maguire rose higher than a Kieran Trippier into the corner, but his head was hit off the crossbar. They broke the deadlock shortly afterwards when Bellingham drove home unmarked Luke ShawRaised cross.
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England pulled out of the lead with two quick goals before half-time. Saka produced a superb half-volley from Maguire’s knockout to extend England’s lead in the 43rd minute, before Sterling finished off a right-footed cross from Harry Kane In stoppage time – the first goal of the Chelsea striker in the finals of the World Cup.
It became a damage-limiting exercise for Iran after the break, but Saka punished them again in the 62nd minute when he slashed past two defenders in the box and curled a softly low shot into the net with his left boot.
Iran found a goal out of nowhere three minutes later, when Taremi seized a moment of hesitation from Maguire to bogey and smash past. Jordan Pickford.
Rashford came on as a substitute and coolly scored his first goal in a major tournament in the 71st minute to reaffirm England’s four-goal lead. There was still time for Grealish to score late on when he took home the unselfish act of a fellow substitute. Callum Wilson.
Sardar Azmoun He almost added another consolation for Iran when he raced into injury time, but Pickford made a fingertip save to deflect his effort onto the crossbar. Iran were awarded a late penalty after the VAR was called for a foul Murtaza BouraliganjiHowever, Taremi set a time limit to return some pride to Iran.
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.
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