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Football: Eng showed their quality in Iran thrashing

DOHA: Bukayo Saka said England sent a statement of what they can achieve at the Football World Cup after thrashing Iran 6-2 on Monday (21st of November, 2022) to launch their campaign in style.

The Arsenal winger scored twice on his World Cup debut as Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish also struck to end a six-game winless run for Gareth Southgate’s men.

“We needed that good start. We haven’t played the best coming into 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,” Saka told the Media.

“It is amazing to get the win under so much pressure. But we have to be consistent because we have the next game coming up in a few days and we have to win again.”

Saka missed the decisive penalty as England lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy 16 months ago.

But he has bounced back in style at club level to help Arsenal to the top of the Premier League and justified Southgate’s call to start him ahead of Manchester City’s Phil Foden.

England (4-2-3-1)
Jordan Pickford; Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham; Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane

Coach: Gareth Southgate (ENG)

Iran (3-5-2)
Alireza Beiranvand; Morteza Pouraliganji, Rouzbeh Cheshmi, Majid Hosseini; Sadegh Moharrami, Ali Karimi, Ahmad Nourollahi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Milad Mohammadi; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Taremi

Coach: Carlos Queiroz (POR)

Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)

Gareth Southgate handed Bukayo Saka a place in England’s starting line-up and kept faith with struggling defender Harry Maguire as the Three Lions kicked off their World Cup campaign against Iran in Doha on Monday.

Arsenal forward Saka, who missed the decisive penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final shoot-out defeat against Italy, got the nod from Southgate instead of Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

Saka’s selection for the Group B game comes after his impressive form for Arsenal helped the Gunners climb to the top of the Premier League prior to the World Cup.

Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling filled the two other creative attacking places behind England striker Harry Kane.

With few other experienced defensive options, Southgate retained Maguire at centre-back despite his dismal form and lack of playing time for Manchester United this term.

John Stones played alongside Maguire at the heart of England’s defence, with Kieran Trippier at right-back and Luke Shaw at left-back.

Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham formed England’s two-man central midfield as Southgate’s men look to end a six-game winless run leading into the tournament.

England (4-2-3-1)
Jordan Pickford; Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham; Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane

Coach: Gareth Southgate (ENG)

Iran (3-5-2)
Alireza Beiranvand; Morteza Pouraliganji, Rouzbeh Cheshmi, Majid Hosseini; Sadegh Moharrami, Ali Karimi, Ahmad Nourollahi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Milad Mohammadi; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Taremi

Coach: Carlos Queiroz (POR)

Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)

Iran were without key striker Sardar Azmoun after the Bayer Leverkusen star failed to recover from a calf injury that has kept him out since October.
Mehdi Taremi, the Porto striker who has impressed on the Champions League stage, was partnered by former Brighton forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the Iran attack.

      

Football: World Cup results:

Group B
England 6 (Bellingham 35, Saka 43, 62, Sterling 45+1, Rashford 71, Grealish 90) Iran 2 (Taremi 65, 90+13-pen)

Playing later
Group B
USA v Wales (1900 GMT)

Playing later
Group A

Senegal v Netherlands (1600 GMT)

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