England 6-2 Iran: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Three Lions Lay Down A Real World Cup Mar
While England might have endured a public struggle when opening this year’s World Cup adventure, the Three Lions laid down what was a stellar marker in Doha on Monday afternoon.
Although some might have feared that Gareth Southgate’s side could face a potential banana skin when opening their Group B run, the European giants breezed their way to a thumping 6-2 romp against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Tipped as a standout pick to cruise their way to the knockout stage without breaking much of a sweat, goals from Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and a Bukayo Saka brace clinched an empathic victory for England.
Putting in a performance that would have certainly been noted by camps across Qatar, we have taken a look at the main talking points as Southgate’s side made quite the statement in Doha.
A dream opener for England
While England might have signed off their pre-World Cup preparations with an action-packed 3-3 draw against Germany during September’s international break, that result didn’t cover what had been an extended blip.
Shockingly failing to win any of their six Nations League appearances this year and losing their League A status, the Three Lions were also enduring their longest winless run since way back in 1993.
However, although some might have believed that Southgate’s superstars could face a rugged test on Monday afternoon, fans back home should be excited by a rampant display here.
Desperate to go one step further after clinching a semi-final finish out in Russia four years ago, England would have simply been relieved to have drawn a line under their 2022 struggles.
Storming their way to a 3-0 lead heading into the half-time break, the European heavyweights must now use this display as a platform to build on.
Although the tougher tests will certainly be waiting down the line for Southgate’s squad, England will take plenty of positives away from a thumping performance in the Middle East.
Saka & Bellingham spearhead England’s charge
Although England might have opened their World Cup adventure with many believing that Harry Kane will have a crucial role to play in Qatar, it was Southgate’s youngsters who stole all of the headlines on Monday afternoon.
With the red-hot Bellingham opening the scoring after 35 minutes with a smart glanced header, the Borussia Dortmund talisman is expected to make his own statement this year.
Only continuing to cement his spot as one of world football’s most sort after young talents, the 19-year-old finds his stock at an all-time high and it is no secret that he has a host of Premier League suitors waiting in the wings.
However, while the ex-Birmingham prodigy might have bagged his first international strike here, it was the sensational Saka who wrote his own piece of history in Doha.
Spearheading an Arsenal side that find themselves at the heart of a shock Premier League
title chase this season, the Gunners’ homegrown star put in a real Man of the Match display here.
Becoming the youngest England player in history to bag a World Cup brace, Saka has underlined his value as one of Southgate’s key players.
Southgate will still be seeking some stability at the back
While England might have enjoyed what was a clinical start to their World Cup adventure in Doha, there is no doubt that Southgate will still be seeking some defensive stability from his side over the next month.
Losing their elite Nations League status and gaining somewhat of a reputation for their issues at the back, England were frustrated to have once again been breached on Monday afternoon.
With Manchester United defender Harry Maguire failing to gain much first-team action over recent weeks, the Three Lions were left exposed on a handful of occasions throughout the second-half.
Along with watching Mehdi Taremi bag his own famous brace in Doha after returning from the interval, England were also lucky as Bayer Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun saw his late effort rebound off the crossbar.
Although the mood in England’s camp will rightfully be at a red-hot high following their clinical Group B opener, Southgate will know that his side must find a way to plug their leaky defence after recording just a single clean sheet from their previous seven appearances.
England: Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Bellingham, Saka, Mount, Sterling, Kane
Subs: Grealish, Foden, Dier, Rashford, Wilson
Iran: Beiranvand, Moharrami, Pouraliganji, Cheshmi, Hosseini, Mohammadi, Jahanbaksh, Nourollahi, Karimi, Hajsafi, Taremi
Subs: Torabi, Gholizadeh, Azmoun, Kanaanizadegan, Hosseini
Goals: England: Bellingham (35′), Saka (43′, 62′), Sterling (45+1′), Rashford (71′) – Iran: Taremi (65′)
Yellow Cards: Jahanbaksh, Pouraliganji
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Raphael Claus
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