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Six-star England make light work of Iran in World Cup Group B opener

  • Bukayo Saka scored twice for England
  • Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish scored the other goals
  • England are seeking their second World Cup trophy

Arsenal’s star boy Bukayo Saka scored twice as England ran riot in their opening Group B match of the FIFA World Cup, thrashing Iran 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Monday evening.

Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham scored one each with substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish adding the final two goals as Gareth Southgate’s men began their campaign in emphatic fashion.

Iran’s poster player Mehdi Taremi scored a brace, including a late penalty awarded by VAR, but it did little to dampen the party for England.

Iran were forced into an early substitution when goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand had to be stretchered off after a concussion following a nasty clash of heads with his teammate. The shot stopper who bled profusely from the contact had attempted to soldier on after almost eight minutes of treatment, but he ultimately signalled to the bench to get him off.

The English, determined to move from ‘nearly’ men to global success had a brilliant start to the match and they showed their first threat on the half hour mark when Bukayo saka slapped a low cross into the area but Mason Mount’s connecting effort hit the side netting.

Maguire denied by the crossbar

Two minutes later, Harry Maguire rose to head home from a Kieran Trippier corner, but his effort came thundering against the crossbar.

But in the 34th minute they finally broke the deadlock, midfielder Jude Bellingham scoring his first ever England goal. The Borussia Dortmund teenager headed home from a Luke Shaw cross to become the second youngest ever scorer for the Three Lions at a World Cup.

In the 43rd minute England doubled their lead, Saka scoring the first of his two with a smashing finish after Maguire had headed down a Trippier corner for the Arsenal man to finish off. He became the third youngest England scorer in World Cup history.

They went to the break with a three goal cushion when Sterling netted with a simple tap from close range off Harry Kane’s cross after a swift counter attack.

Saka complete his brace

In the second half, England continued with their dominance and Saka completed his brace after 62 minutes with a trademark cut in from the right and a low shot with his favourite left foot.

Iran pulled one back when England lost the ball cheaply in midfield in the 65th minute, Taremi firing home from inside the box after Ali Gholizadeh played him through.

They had some hope of mounting a comeback and they played with more determination but their dream was nipped in the bud in the 71st minute when Rashford, barely a minute on the pitch, made it 5-1 with a neat low finish after dancing his way into the area.

Another substitute Jack Grealish then finished off the job for the English with a tap from close range after feeding off Callum Wilson’s cross.

Iran pulled one back in added time when Taremi scored from the penalty spot after VAR gave a penalty for a shirt tag off a corner, but it was mere statistic as the Three Lions roared to victory and a powerful start to their World Cup campaign.

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