England vs Iran 6-2: Three Lions Trample Team Melli

England opened their World Cup 2022 campaign in style as they dismantled Iran 6-2 in the Group B curtain raiser. Bukayo Saka grabbed the lion’s share with a brace as Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, and Jack Grealish also joined the goal-fest.

Carlos Queiroz’s Team Melli courageously took a stand before the match start as they refrained from singing the national anthem in apparent support of their people’s protests against their government repression. Other than that though, the Iranian side had little to show, save for a Mehdi Taremi brace that made their defeat a little less bitter.

And so, the match at the Khalifa International Stadium went down to the tournament history for the abnormal amount of stoppage time allowed due to two heavy injuries and the fact that Iran were allowed to make six changes as them came as a consequence of a player suffering a concussion. 

That was when the game first took a clear direction as Iran lost their starting goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, one of their most representative men. Twelve minutes into the game, Beiranvand crashed into his teammate Majid Hosseini in attempt to anticipate Harry Kane and suffered a broken nose. He tried to continue playing but appeared clearly dazed and had to be stretched out of the pitch.  

The Three Lions progressively took control of the operations and got the job done with a triplet before the half time break. It was Bellingham to open the scoring as he headed the ball home from a Luke Shaw cross on 35 minutes. Nine minutes later, Saka received a flank play from Harry Maguire and beat the Iran backup goalkeeper with a fine left-foot effort. During the first half stoppage time, Sterling volleyed the ball into the net from a Kane cross. All just too easy for Gareth Southgate’s side. 

Queiroz made three changes after the restart but there was no way his side could reopen the game. Saka bagged his brace on 62 minutes with another clinical left foot strike as he was left totally free to shot. Then, the Porto forward Taremi drilled the ball home to give his side an ephemeral reason for celebration. 

Southgate made his strikers rotate and gave some playing time to his backup options, offering chances to Rashford and Grealish to also join the party. With the scorecard now reaching tennis score proportions and another long stretch of stoppage time, Taremi’s late spot kick only served the purpose of earning the Porto man the badge of temporary World Cup top-scorer alongside Saka and Ecuador’s Enner Valencia



November 21, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group B

SCORERS: 35’ Bellingham (E), 43’ Saka (E), 45+1’ Sterling (E), 62’ Saka (E), 65’ Taremi (I), 71’ Rashford (E), 90’ Grealish (E), 103’ Taremi (I, pen.)

ENGLAND (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire (70’ Dier), Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Saka (70’ Rashford), Mount (70’ Foden), Sterling (70’ Grealish); Kane (75’ Wilson) (Pope, Ramsdale, Alexander-Arnold, Coady, Gallagher, Henderson, Phillips, Walker, White) Coach: Southgate
IRAN (4-5-1): Beiranvand (20’ Hosseini); Moharrami, Cheshmi (46’ Kanaani), Hosseini, Mohammadi (63’ Torabi); Karimi (46’ Zatolahi), Nourollahi (77’ Azmoun), Pouraliganji, Hajsafi; Jahanbakhsh (46’ Gholizadeh); Taremi (Abedzadeh, Amiri, Ansarifard, Ghoddos, Jalali, Khalilzadeh, Niazmand, Rezaeian) Coach: Queiroz
REFEREE: Mr. Claus (Brazil)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Jahanbakhsh, Pouraliganji (I); Added Time: 1st Half 10′, 2nd Half 13′
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