Welcome to Sportstar’s HIGHLIGHTS of the FIFA World Cup clash between England and Iran.
10 minutes added on. Pickford pulls off a brilliant save one-on-one to deny Sardar Azmoun. That could have been a little bit of a consolation for Iran. A potential penalty is being checked by the referee for VAR. A shirt pull inside the box and Iran wins a penalty. Taremi steps up and sends Pickford the other way and slots it into the right. ENG 6-2 IRN. An emphatic win for England and that should mark its credibility as a potential title contender.
England has a scary moment as Iran almost snuck out on a counterattack. But Iranian attackers can’t find the right pass and that counterattack dies down. At the other end, Rashford shows his selflessness as he sets up Grealish for a tap-in, which he duly does. ENG 6-1 IRN
Rashford seems like a man possessed as he dribbles and jags his way past multiple defenders, but his shot is eventually blocked. He is at it again with a dribble, but his pass forward is a little over powered.
The game seems to have settled on its course. Iran seems to have accepted its fate as England looks to pass its way into the full time whistle.
Sardar Azmoun is introduced and he gets the loudest cheer of the day. The player had just recovered from a calf injury.
England is coasting. Rashford’s goal has restored the four goal lead. Meanwhile, Harry Kane is taken off for Callum Wilson.
Maguire seems to have suffered a concussion and Dier comes in. Also introduced is Rashford, who is instantly released by Kane. Rashford cuts back and slots it in with his left foot. ENG 5-1 IRN
IRAN GETS ONE BACK!!! Iran shows composure with the ball and finds the gaps in England defence. Gholizadeh pulls off a sumptuous reverse pass for striker Taremi to whack it in to the roof of the net. IRAN IS STILL BELIEVING
SAKA AGAIN!!! Another left-footed finish. This time it is Sterling who finds Saka, who cuts back to left foot and slams it into the goal. ENG 4-0 IRN.
Englans hasn’t succeeded in maintaining the intensity from the first half. It hasn’t tested the Iranian goal, yet, in the second half.
Bellingham dances his way onto the byline, but can’t get a cross in. England, though, gets a spate of corners, but can’t make it count. Maguire shows great composure to bring the ball out of the defence and Kane then releases Sterling with a flick. Sterling though couldn’t get a shot on target.
Harry Kane is hacked down and looks like has twisted his ankle. Physio is in to take a look at him and he seems fine. The resultant freekick is slammed into the wall by Trippier, who is the next to go down after a painful stab on his foot
Iran loses possession in the midfield and England sets up to attack, before opting to pass it around for a little more control.
Iran brings in three changes to reverse the trend. England will be looking to pile on the misery.
Another corner for England, but Iran’s defenders hold their ground. England looks threatening even in the final moments of the first half. Iran finally makes a chance of its own. Taremi finds Jahanbaksh in the box, but the latter’s first-time volley was a disappointing one as it flies far above the post. And the first half comes to an end with ENGLAND 3-0 IRAN
Kane finds a yard of space down the right and he squares it for Sterling to tap it in. ENGLAND 3-0 IRAN. Meanwhile, 14 minutes added on.
Iran concedes another corner and England makes it pay again. Maguire rises highest and heads it down Saka to thump it in with his left foot into the top corner . ENGLAND RUNNING AWAY WITH THIS.
England gets the crucial first goal and it has come in the first half. Iran looking for ways to drag itself back into the game, but is constantly shut out by England.
Luke Shaw gets space down the left to cross it in and it is Jude Bellingham leaps highest to nudge it into the goal. ENG 1-0 IRN
Another corner for England and Trippier is again at the end of it. He swings one in and Maguire gets his head to it and it comes crashing of the crossbar. HUGE CHANCE!!!
Saka is tackled down hard by Majid Hoseini. England plays its way upfield and after an intricate piece of play. Saka releases Mount, but his shot crashes into the side netting only.
Jahanbaksh is the first player to be booked today after a badly-timed challenge. England loses the rhythm as Iran breaks up the play insistently
Iran makes its first foray into the England third and wins a freekick. But the delivery isn’t perfect and the chance goes wasted.
Beiranvand tries to resume, but soon indicates that he needs to replaced. He makes his way out, while England plasyers pass the ball around to keep the intensity going. Beiranvand is taken off with a suspected concussion and in comes Hossein Hosseini.
A short break as Iran keeper Beiranvand is down after a collision with his teammate. The physios are taking a look and it looks like a facial injury as Beiranvand is still on the ground.
England wins a freekick and Trippier opts to take it quickly and Kane crosses it in, but none of the English players could get a touch in, with Maguire the last to it. Solid chance there for England.
England starts from the back again. Iran hasn’t had one spell of possession yet as England moves the ball around with ease. Luke Shaw puts a cross in, but Iran defence is alert to it.
England with the early control over possession. And it wins the first corner of the night from the left. Trippier swings it in, but it is too deep.
England players take the knee before the kickoff.
IRAN PLAYING 11: Beiranvand, Hosseini, Cheshmi, Pouraliganji, Mohammadi, Karimi, Moharrami, Hajsafi (C), Nourollahi, Taremi, Jahanbakhsh
ENGLAND PLAYING 11: Pickford (GK); Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Sterling, Mount, Saka; Kane
England manager Gareth Southgate, increasingly looking like the helpless protagonist of the Hangman game, will need his team to play an enterprising game and deliver a positive result in its World Cup opener against Iran to stop the noose from tightening further.
A contract running till December 2024 has offered Southgate no measures of comfort with recent results – a winless Nations League run -- and a lack of imagination in play robbing him of all the goodwill that a run to EURO final had offered last year. The manager, further handicapped by the injury-absence of Chelsea wing-back pairing of Reece James and Ben Chilwell, has a lot to worry about his defence with Harry Maguire struggling for form and the ever-dependable Kyle Walker yet to recover.
Upfront, Harry Kane – England’s captain – would be Southgate’s key man with Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka operating from the wide areas in a 3-4-3 system. With Leicester City’s James Maddison and Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips doubtful after missing out on training, England might benefit from the inclusion of 19-year-old Jude Bellingham, who can bring the fearlessness of youth to spread fear in the Iranian ranks alongside the measured and experienced Declan Rice.
Managed by former Manchester United and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz for the third time in a World Cup, Iran’s attacking threat will come from Mehdi Taremi, who has 28 goals in 60 appearances, as Bayer Leverkusen forward Sardar Azmoun – the Iranian Messi – is yet to recover from a calf injury suffered in October.
Queiroz, known for his safety-first approach, might pack his midfield in a 4-5-1 system in a bid to disallow England any space to dictate the game. In Alireza Jahanbakhsh and skipper Ehsan Hajsafi, playing his 122nd international game, Team Melli has enough experience to threaten the confidence-worn English defence.
The 20th ranked team in the world will be no pushovers in this first international encounter between these nations with frosty diplomatic ties.