Young stars Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka scored the Three Lions’ first two goals as England beat Iran 6-2 in their World Cup Group B opener.
Bellingham, 19, became the youngest England player to score at a World Cup since Michael Owen found the back of the net as an 18-year-old in 1998 and tied his club record of six goals national team set against Panama in 2018. for the most goals scored in a World Cup match.
Saka, 21, then made it 2-0 with his first of two goals.
Raheem Sterling put the game out of reach three minutes after Saka’s goal. You’ll notice that England’s barrage came without a goal from Harry Kane, the most important player in England’s hopes of winning the World Cup for the first time since 1966. Goals from players other than Kane are what can be done this side of England so dangerous.
England coach Gareth Southgate ditched three centre-backs and two wing-backs in favor of four backs and three midfielders against an overmatched Iran side that couldn’t keep possession of the ball. England played with five men at the back for most of their run to the Euro 2020 final a year ago and the preferred formation could be back against the United States on Friday.
The addition of an extra midfielder saw Mason Mount play in a top three midfield with Bellingham and Declan Rice. The latter stayed at the bottom of the field and Bellingham was able to do what it does best and get upfield when needed. The Borussia Dortmund player is being courted by the top teams in the English Premier League and a stellar performance in Qatar will only make his transfer fee even bigger.
Saka played widely after being first choice player at the Euros. He showed no lack of confidence in missing the decisive penalty in the Euro final against Italy. Just look at his willingness to find space in the box for England’s fourth goal of the game.
Saka’s second goal also allowed Southgate to make a wave of substitutions in the second half. He was able to get Kane, Sterling, Saka and Mount up front and give them a break during the second half, although defender Harry Maguire was taken off with an apparent head injury in the moments after Iran’s goal. achieve.
The blowout victory means that England have only cemented their status as favorites to win Group B. The four-goal margin is huge for the team’s goal differential and it is now likely that England can throw a surprise loss to the USMNT or Wales and still get through to the knockout. stage.
Meanwhile, Iran will likely need wins against both the US and Great Britain to have a shot at progressing and may have to play the rest of the tournament without the goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand to start. He was taken off in the 19th minute after suffering a head injury and a bloody nose in a collision. Beiranvand tried to stay in the game after receiving treatment for almost 10 minutes but quickly fell back to the turf and had to be subbed for Hossein Kanani.