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Saka in double as dynamic England hit Iran for six – SABC News


England got their World Cup campaign off to a flying start with a brace of goals against a shell-shocked Iran and cruised to an impressive 6-2 Group B win on Monday in a timely return to form for Gareth Southgate’s side.

England, the 2018 semi-finalists, entered the tournament without a win in six games, but a dynamic opening 45 minutes in which Jude Bellingham scored his first goal for England, Bukayo Sakho doubled their lead and Raheem Sterling grabbed the third pass, the second half-time.

Sakho’s second goal allowed England to take their foot off the gas and opened up the opportunity for Iran to pull a goal back through Mehdi Toremi, before Marcus Rashford and substitute Jack Grealish completed England’s tally.

Although Iran’s Toremi scored another from the penalty spot in the 13th minute of stoppage time to take the total to a staggering 26 minutes in both halves, England’s work was done.

“We didn’t play the best in the tournament. There was a lot of talk and speculation about our form, but we showed everyone how much quality we have and what we can do,” said Sacco, whose last major tournament ended with him missing a penalty in the Euro 2020 finals series.

However, England coach Gareth Southgate was not impressed.

“I’m unhappy so and so, I should be more excited, but I have to keep the team on the right path and we have to be better,” he said, grumbling about the two goals conceded.


In a World Cup dominated by politics, despite FIFA’s determination to leave football to the conversation, the build-up to the game has been overshadowed by off-field issues.

England captain Harry Kane scrapped plans to wear the ‘One Love’ armband after FIFA made it clear that those wearing the colorful symbol of diversity and inclusion could face a warning, with the striker opting for the FIFA-approved ‘No Discrimination’ version. . Read the story in its entirety

There was also speculation that Iranian players would use the platform to show solidarity with anti-government protests at home, and when the Iranian national anthem was played, players stood stone-faced and silent. Read the story in its entirety

The game eventually took center stage and soon England were on top.

Their cause was helped when Iran’s influential goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was forced off in the 20th minute after a nasty clash of heads with a team-mate, but Southgate’s side took full advantage.


England midfielder Bellingham, 19, purred like a Rolls-Royce in the engine room and his first goal sent England into the Khalifa International Stadium.

Timing his run perfectly, Bellingham rose to meet Luke Shaw’s cross and headed into the top corner in the 35th minute to become the first player born in or after 2000 to score at the World Cup.

Shaw was again the provider for England’s second when Harry Maguire headed his corner across the box to Saka, who slotted home expertly.

The game ended as a contest when Sterling added a third goal, curling in a Harry Kane cross with the outside of his boot after Bellingham had again been involved in the build-up.

England weren’t finished, however, as Sacco grabbed his second in the 62nd minute.

Sterling, whose place in the side has come under scrutiny following Chelsea’s mixed form, turned in midfield and fed Saka, who cheated, before lowering his shoulder and calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

Iran pulled the ball back when Toremi fired into the top corner, but Rashford came on in a series of England changes in the 70th minute and beat a defender before scoring for his side five minutes later.

Grealish scored England’s sixth goal from close range in the 90th minute after fellow substitute Callum Wilson raced down the right and headed in ahead of Toremi’s late spot-kick, ruled out after a VAR review for a minor shirt-pull.

“At first there was a clear difference between the high level of competitive football … every week and our players, unfortunately they don’t have the same experience,” Iran manager Carlos Queiroz said.

His side face Wales on Friday when England take on the United States.

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