England delivered a brilliant performance with a thrashing of Iran in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B opener at the Khalifa Stadium. The Three Lions were completely dominant in the game against the Asian side.
After witnessing hosts Qatar fall to a defeat at the hands of Ecuador in the opening match, fans were eager for more action and they got what they wanted.
England dominated the match from the start and were inches away from grabbing the opener through Harry Maguire. The Manchester United man headed a corner against the woodwork in the 32nd minute following a corner from Luke Shaw.
The Three Lions would not be held back for long as teenage star Jude Bellingham scored his first international goal in the 35th minute. The 19-year-old midfielder was at the right place to head home a brilliant Shaw cross into the back of the net.
England doubled their advantage eight minutes later in spectacular fashion through Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. Another corner from Shaw was headed down by the impressive Maguire, allowing Saka to volley home from inside the box for a goal on his World Cup debut.
Not to be denied for long, the Three Lions added a third in the first minute of time added on through Raheem Sterling. The Chelsea winger peeled off his marker to meet a cross from captain Harry Kane at the near post with an outside-of-the-foot finish.
Saka further proved his mettle as he scored his second and his side’s fourth of the game shortly after the hour mark. The Arsenal winger received a pass from Sterling before showing calmness to shift the ball until he could fire a low drive into the bottom corner in the 62nd minute.
England’s defence was breached finally by the Iranians in the 65th minute through the in-form Mehdi Taremi. The FC Porto striker latched onto a brilliant reverse ball from Ali Gholizadeh before firing an effort into the net via the crossbar.
The Three Lions responded immediately as substitute Marcus Rashford found the net within seconds of his introduction into the fray. The Manchester United forward was found by Kane and showed good composure to find the back of the net when through on goal. It was the 24-year-old’s first goal in a FIFA World Cup.
England forward Jack Grealish would have the final say in the game as he fired home in the 89th minute after great unselfish play from striker Callum Wilson. Taremi scored a second for Iran from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time.
The Three Lions have claimed an important three points to open their campaign in Qatar, sending a huge statement to other contenders for the trophy. Two matches against Wales and USA are still to come for both England and Iran in the group stage.