DOHA : England shouted an early warning that they are among the contenders in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar when they easily beat Iran, 6-2 in the first action of Group B at the Khalifa International Stadium, just now.
The aggressive game pattern displayed by Gareth Southgate’s men as soon as the match whistle was blown through the combination of Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling in the attack.
The pace of England’s attack, however, stopped in the 10th minute after Iran’s goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand suffered a nose injury after being involved in a foul with a teammate.
The match was halted for about seven minutes before resuming later with Iran coach Carlos Queiroz bringing in Shoja Khalilzadeh to replace Alireza in the 18th minute.
The Three Lions almost found the back of the net in the 29th minute but Mosun Mount’s shot went wide and Harry Maguire’s header hit the crossbar two minutes later.
The player who has a price tag of 176.9 million pounds (RM957.70 million) Jude Bellingham finally cheered up the England camp after scoring the first goal in the 35th minute.
England remained comfortably in front after Saka scored his second goal in the 43rd minute before Raheem Sterling made it three without reply two minutes later for 45 minutes of the first half.
England continued when Saka scored his fourth goal for the team and his second after 17 minutes of the second period.
Iran, which is ranked 20th in the world, rose to give competition and managed to get a goal through its attacker Mehdi Taremi in the 65th minute.
Marcus Rashford, who was brought on in the 70th minute, did not wait long to repay Southgate’s faith when the Manchester United forward scored the team’s fifth goal a minute later.
Jack Grealish was also listed as England’s sixth goal scorer in the 89th minute before Mehdi scored Iran’s second personal and team goal through a penalty kick at the end of the game. -ONLINE MESSENGER
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