England did well as they cruised past an under-motivated Iran side at the Khalifa Stadium in Qatar.
England couldn’t have wished for a better start to their 2022 World Cup campaign as they brushed aside an uninspired Iran side with goals from Bellingham, Saka, Sterling, Rashford and Grealish.
The game got off to a slow start when Iran’s goalkeeper Beranvand suffered a head injury when he crossed and collided with his teammate. It took more than eight minutes for the keeper to be sent off the pitch despite FIFA’s introduction of the match.
Immediately after the restart, England’s Harry Maguire went close with a powerful header that hit the bar.
Dortmund’s Bellingham opened the scoring in the 35th minute, heading home a whipped cross from Luke Shaw.
Maguire was involved in England’s second half in the 43rd minute after latching on to Shaw’s cross and setting up Bukayo Saka, who fired the ball into the top right corner.
Raheem Sterling made it three before the break when he met Harry Kane and controlled the ball from the right.
The Three Lions continued to dominate in the second half, Bukayo grabbed the second when he out-danced a few Iranian defenders and headed into the bottom corner.
The Iranian fans, who had a good voice in the first half, started to go away when Taremi took a good shot from Pickford.
However, any hope for Iran was short-lived, with Rashford grabbing the fifth minutes after being brought on by manager Gareth Southgate. The Manchester United striker showed incredible composure and took several touches before firing it into the bottom corner.
It was worse for Team Melli after substitute Jack Grealish, struck in the sixth, dribbled the ball past Iran’s defense and into the ground.
After the game entered ten minutes of injury time, Iran were awarded a penalty after VAR review. Taremi calmly slotted in a second consolation goal for his side to the delight of his teammates.
Today’s win will be a huge boost for England, who will be favorites in the group, along with Wales and the USA.
Iran will need to do much better if it is to have any chance of progressing. They have never made it past the group stage at the World Cup.
The win against Iran is now England’s second World Cup win after a 6-1 win against Panama in 2018.
The game, which is said to be a sports show and has a world view, started a controversy when the Iranian team refused to play the national anthem at the beginning of the game.
It was a remarkable act of solidarity with protesters at home, which began in September when a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
Protests have spread across the country, challenging the government’s rule even as security forces crack down on them. Hundreds of people have died in the violence.
Before Monday’s game, there were chants of “Say his name, Mahsa Amini” among protesters outside the stadium.