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As it happened: England v Iran, World Cup

England faced Iran, as the Three Lions looked to justify their status as one of the pre-tournament favourites.

England 6-2 Iran

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog for the second World Cup group stage game.

Given that they are one of the pre-tournament favourites, England will be looking to lay down a marker today.

They will be heavily fancied both to beat Iran and top their group.

However, Carlos Queiroz has a reputation for making teams difficult to beat and England aren’t coming into this game in the best of form, having gone six matches without a win.

So it could be a tricky encounter for the Three Lions against opponents who are likely to set out to frustrate and put 11 men behind the ball.

Kick-off is at 1pm Irish time.

The BBC pundits are discussing the controversial Fifa decision to ban countries from wearing the ‘One Love’ armbands.

Alan Shearer believes it is “unfair” on the players to put themselves in a tricky position on the day of the game, while Rio Ferdinand believes the various federations need to be “stronger” in combatting the wishes of Giovanni Infantino and co.

A reminder of this game’s political backdrop…

Who do you think will win?

Poll Results:

England (354)
Draw (92)
Iran (76)

We’re underway…

England have started on the front foot as expected.

A corner is played in and both Maguire and Stones go down in the area, but the referee ignores England’s protests.

david-beckham-right-in-the-stands-before-the-fifa-world-cup-group-b-match-at-the-khalifa-international-stadium-in-doha-qatar-picture-date-monday-november-21-2022 David Beckham (right) in the stands before the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Khalifa International Stadium. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

So far, England have dominated possession as expected.

They create their first decent chance, as Kane crosses for Maguire, but the defender can’t quite connect properly with the ball and turns it wide.

There’s then a long stoppage as goalkeeper Beyranvand receives attention, as he collided with his own player while attempting to gather the cross.

englands-declan-rice-and-jude-bellingham-take-the-knee-before-the-fifa-world-cup-group-b-match-at-the-khalifa-international-stadium-in-doha-qatar-picture-date-monday-november-21-2022 England's Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham take the knee. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Beyranvand was initially deemed okay to continue, but he goes down again moments later.

The substitute goalkeeper Hosseini will come on in his place for his seventh cap.

The substitution is finally made after a lengthy delay.

You’d imagine there’ll be about 10 minutes of first-half stoppage time as a result of that extended halt in play.

It continues to be a very slow, stop-start contest.

Iran had a rare foray into English territory moments ago, but couldn’t make the most out of a free kick from a promising position on the left.

Meanwhile, Jahanbakhsh has just been booked for a late challenge on Shaw — not the first aggressive tackle from Iran today.

Kane finds Saka, but the Arsenal star’s finish is tame and Hosseini gathers easily.

That’s a nice comfortable start for the substitute goalkeeper.


Saka links up well with Sterling on the right.

The Arsenal’s star’s low cross finds Mount, whose first-time finish from a tight angle hits the side netting.

England come the closest yet to scoing.

Trippier floats a corner in and Maguire’s header comes back off the crossbar.

Set pieces were England’s greatest weapon at the last World Cup and the same could be the case in Qatar.


England lead and it’s a brilliant moment for 19-year-old Jude Bellingham.

Shaw produces a perfect cross and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder steers a well-executed header into the corner of the net.

That goal has been coming and it’s hard to see a way back for Iran from this point.



Two goals in quick succession for England to effectively end the match as a contest.

Firstly Shaw’s corner is headed down by Maguire and Saka produces a superb finish from the edge of the area.

Moments later, England counter at speed. Kane crosses for Sterling, who makes no mistake, volleying home from close range.

I would say Iran will be relieved to see the half-time whistle.

However, on account of that lengthy stoppage, 14 minutes will be added on to compound Carlos Queiroz side’s misery.

Here’s a look at the second and third goals…

This game has been fairly uneventful since the third goal.

You’d imagine England may take it easy from here while Iran will be happy to keep the score down.

As I type, however, Hajisafi crosses for Jahanbakhsh, but the winger’s shot goes well over the bar.


Half-time and it’s so far, so good from an English perspective.

Gareth Southgate’s side simply look far too good for a sub-par Iranian outfit who have offered little resistance.

Some of the more inexperienced players — Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka — have been among the most impressive performers. You could argue that neither were seen as guaranteed starters in recent times, but it will be hard to drop them based on today’s performance.

It’s really only a question of how many for England now, and Gareth Southgate will probably look to rest certain players in the second half by bringing them off early.

It’s not been a good start to the tournament for Asian sides, with a likely comprehensive defeat for Iran coming off the back of a similarly convincing loss suffered by hosts Qatar yesterday.

The second half is underway.

There’s a nervy moment early on for Pickford, as his clearance is blocked down by an Iran player but it deflects away to safety.

england-fans-celebrate-at-the-budweiser-fan-festival-london-at-outernet-during-a-screening-of-the-fifa-world-cup-group-b-match-between-england-and-iran-picture-date-monday-november-21-2022 England fans celebrate at the Budweiser Fan Festival London at Outernet. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Worrying moment for England as Harry Kane goes down injured following a late challenge by Pouraliganji, who gets booked.

The Tottenham star has a knock on the ankle, but it doesn’t look too bad.

He may be taken off as a precaution anyway.

Kane looks like he’ll be okay to continue.

Trippier is also the victim of a late tackle but the injury again doesn’t appear too serious.

Lovely link-up play between Kane and Sterling allows the latter to sprint through on goal.

However, Hosseini does well to get back and make a good recovery challenge to deny the Chelsea star.

The second half has unsurprisingly been a damp squib.

With the game already decided, there is no real tension in the match.

England’s players just need to try to avoid injuries now.


It’s 4-0 and it’s all too easy for Saka.

Sterling plays it to the Arsenal star, who finds space on the edge of the area having been afforded plenty of time and space, enabling him to produce another fine finish to consolidate England’s advantage.


Gholizadeh plays an incisive through pass to Taremi.

The 30-year-old Porto striker escapes the attention of Maguiren and scores with a brilliant first-time finish off the crossbar and in.

Maguire appeared to take a knock in the build-up to that goal and has to come off.

Tottenham’s Eric Dier will come on in his place.

England make four substitutions in total

Saka, Maguire, Mount and Sterling are off.

Dier, Foden, Rashford and Grealish are on


Kane does well in the build-up, controlling a long ball and setting up Rashford.

The Manchester United forward, fresh off the bench, shows good composure to slot home, but again, he is given all the space in the world.

England make another change.

Harry Kane hasn’t scored, but he’s played quite well.

Southgate realises the need to wrap him up in cotton wool ahead of future games, so Callum Wilson comes on in his place.

englands-harry-kane-holds-his-ankle-after-a-challenge-during-the-fifa-world-cup-group-b-match-at-the-khalifa-international-stadium-in-doha-qatar-picture-date-monday-november-21-2022 England's Harry Kane holds his ankle after a challenge during the FIFA World Cup Group B match. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Here’s a look at all the second-half goals so far…

England are playing with a real swagger now.

The game has an exhibition feel at this stage.

Iran have never gotten out of the group stages of a World Cup, and they don’t look likely to reverse that trend based on today’s performance.


England get a sixth late on.

The impressive Bellingham plays a well-weighted through pass for Wilson.

The Newcastle star could go for goal himself, but instead, unselfishly lays it on a plate for Grealish who converts it into the empty net.

We’re set for another lengthy period of stoppage time.

10 minutes will be added on.

This surely must be among the longest World Cup group games in history.

Iran nearly get another consolation.

Azmoun is played through on goal as he evades the challenge on Stones, but Pickford gets the slightest of touches on his finish and it comes back off the crossbar.

Penalty for Iran.

After a VAR check, Stones is punished for a jersey pull on Pouraliganji.


Taremi sends Pickford the wrong way from the spot for a late, late goal.

That’s his 30th goal for 60 international appearances.


doha-catar-21st-nov-2022-se-celebrates-his-goal-during-a-match-between-england-and-iran-valid-for-the-group-stage-of-the-world-cup-held-at-khalifa-international-stadium-in-doha-qatar-credit-r Iran players celebrate. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

So that’s that.

England made their superiority count against a limited Iran team.

Based on that performance, they deserve to be considered among the favourites.

Saka, Kane, Bellingham and Sterling were among the players to impress.

There were a few worries — Maguire going off injured was one, while the defence in general looked a little ropey at times, as illustrated by the fact they conceded twice against an Iran side that offered little in attack.

Overall though, Southgate will be happy with their opening performance and will be now hoping they can seal a place in the knockout stages with a game to spare by beating USA in their next game on Friday.

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here and we’ll have more reaction to follow shortly.

For the latest news coverage on the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022, see here >

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