England 6-2 Iran : Bukayo Saka Scores a Brace in a Thumping Win

Last Updated on 21/11/2022 by

At the Khalifa International Stadium, England thrashed Iran 6-2 to start their World Cup 2022 Group B campaign. Bukayo Saka scored twice in the victory.

In a commanding first half, the 21-year-old scored either side of goals from Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling before doubling his total in the second, in which substitutes Rashford and Grealish also scored.

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Mehdi Taremi scored two consolation goals for Iran, who was otherwise soundly defeated by Gareth Southgate’s vibrant squad as the men in white began their quest for victory in nearly flawless fashion.

Due to a bug in FIFA’s ticketing app, many spectators were unable to find seats in time for the playing of the national anthems, during which Iranian players chose not to sing in support of the country’s protesters.

Harry Maguire was brought down inside the area by Roozbeh Cheshmi just four minutes into the first half, sparking controversy. However, the referees did not find anything improper with the challenge.

The pressure from Southgate’s team didn’t stop there; in the seventh minute, Iran’s Alireza Beiranvand and Majid Hosseini got into a nasty face-to-face collision, with the latter player emerging unscathed.

The Iranian medical team attempted to stop the flow of blood from Beiranvand’s nose for several minutes, but after a long delay, he was mysteriously given the all-clear to continue. Shortly after Hossein Hosseini was introduced, Beiranvand signalled to leave and remained largely trouble-free for the next 30 minutes.

In the 32nd minute, Maguire sent a glancing header against the crossbar, but three minutes later, Bellingham, another member of the Three Lions, met Luke Shaw’s cross with a header that found the back of the net for the first England goal.

After Bellingham’s first goal, England’s scoring streak was well and truly underway. Saka joined the party in the 43rd minute when Maguire headed down a corner for the Arsenal player to score on the half-volley with the aid of a slight deflection.

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Iran’s protests over a foul by Maguire went unanswered, and at the start of a 14-minute injury time, Sterling scored from close range after Harry Kane had gotten away down the right and crossed the ball.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s harmless volley over the bar in a crowded area late in the first half represented Team Melli’s best opportunity. Carlos Queiroz responded by making three substitutions at halftime.

Early in the second half, Iran made a few rash and late challenges on England, and Queiroz’s team put a little more pressure on them in their defensive third, but Jordan Pickford was still adequately protected.

When Saka cut in from the right and created space inside the box in the 62nd minute, the Three Lions continued to pose a constant threat. His low deflected shot found the bottom corner.

Three minutes later, Iran would equalise when Taremi scored off the crossbar after a deft pass from Ali Gholizadeh. Southgate then made four substitutions, replacing Maguire after another concussion scare.

Rashford, one of the recently added substitutes, scored England’s second goal in the 71st minute with just three touches after cutting onto his left foot inside the box. As the game entered its final stages, England still had time to score a sixth goal. On the 89th minute, Callum Wilson burst down the right before finding Grealish in the box for a straightforward tap-in.

A close-range attempt from Sardar Azmoun forced Pickford to tip it onto the crossbar and over the top in the eighth minute of the additional 10 minutes of stoppage time added at the end of the second half after 14 minutes of first-half stoppage time.

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However, hopes of England matching their 6-1 thrashing of Panama from 2018 were crushed when VAR awarded Iran a last-second penalty after John Stones pulled Morteza Pouraliganji down by the shirt and Taremi sent Pickford the opposite way.

With a 6-2 victory over Iran, England began their World Cup run. Bellingham scored his first goal for England before Saka and Sterling added goals to make it 3-0 for the Three Lions at the half. Just after the hour mark, Saka scored again before Taremi equalised with a shot that he hit off the underside of the bar. Grealish and Rashford both came off the bench to seal it, with the former scoring just 49 seconds after being introduced. Following a Stones foul, Taremi scored a late penalty to end the match.

Before England plays the latter on Friday, Matchday One of Group B will be completed by Wales, the USA, and Iran. Iran will look to bounce back from Monday’s loss in their matchup with the Dragons in four days.



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