The two youngest in England’s squad, 19-year-old Jude Bellingham and 21-year-old Bukayo Saka, got the “Three Lions” on track with their goals (35th minute and 43rd/62nd) against Iran. Raheem Sterling (45′ +1′), Marcus Rashford (71′) and Jack Grealish (90′) also scored for England. Iran’s two consolation goals come from Mehdi Taremi (65th and 90th +12). The first meeting of the two nations ever ended 6:2 (3:0).
In the eighth minute, Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand collided violently with team-mate Majid Hosseini. After a minute’s treatment, Beiranvand tried to continue but had to be substituted after around 20 minutes. Hossein Hosseini replaced him. Due to this injury, among other things, more than 25 minutes were replayed.
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Bellingham’s header gives England the lead
It took England a few minutes to get going after that long layoff. Then, however, the “Three Lions” showed great enthusiasm. First Maguire headed the crossbar (32′), then Bellingham scored the lead (35′). A cross from Luke Shaw was headed in by the Borussia Dortmund midfielder over goalkeeper Hosseini (35′). It was Bellingham’s first international goal.
Saka raises with a magic goal
With a volley worth seeing, winger Saka increased the lead to 2-0 (43′). From a corner, Maguire dropped the ball to Saka, who slammed the ball under the crossbar with his left hand, from where it bounced into the net. Iran were on the ball from then on, England took advantage of that and scored 3-0 before half-time through Raheem Sterling. Kane had served Sterling with a cross from the right.
The Iranians’ only dangerous action in the first half came from Alireza Jahanbakhsh (45’+11) when he shot over the goal from a free-standing position. A hit would probably have been taken back because of an offside position when the chance arose.
Saka score twice, Iran’s Taremi with a consolation goal
After half-time, the game initially flattened out. But then she picked up speed again. Saka threw the Iranian back line into confusion with a dribble and shot low to make it 4-0 (62′). In the 65th minute, the Iranians proved that they can also play combination football. Ali Gholizadeh staged Mehdi Taremi on the right edge of the penalty area, who shot powerfully to make it 4-1.
Substitutes Rashford and Grealish also meet
The English then switched through. Among others, Marcus Rashford came into the game – and scored with his first touch of the ball to make it 5:1 (71st). Kane had played it, Rashford first feinted a defender and then easily scored. Shortly before the end, substitute Jack Grealish scored his goal (90th). After a cross pass from Callum Wilson, all he had to do was push in.
Penalty for Iran after video evidence
Iran’s Sardar Azmoun hit the bar just before the end, ahead of England keeper Jordan Pickford. The Iranians also caused the last excitement. After video evidence, they were awarded a foul penalty, which Taremi converted. John Stones had pulled Morteza Pouraliganji’s jersey. It was the end of a spectacular game that drew attention not only because of the eight goals.
Both teams sent messages
Before kick-off, players from both teams had made their mark. The Iranian players, for example, were silent during the national anthem and showed solidarity with the people who were protesting against the mullahs’ regime in their home country. England’s players took a knee to take a stand against racism.
A lot had already been said before the game about possible messages. About the fact that England’s captain Harry Kane renounced the “One Love” armband, with which England and other European nations, including Germany, wanted to set an example against homophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and for human and especially women’s rights. And about the fact that Iran’s captain Ehsan Hajisafi showed solidarity with the protesters in his home country. They should know “that we are with them, we support them and we sympathize with them.”
Iran has never been in a World Cup round of 16
The World Cup is highly political for Iran. The mullah regime wants to take the athletes for itself, but many demonstrators had demanded that the team not compete or at least make a big statement on the World Cup stage. Every gesture is under scrutiny, and that will be no different in the second group game against Wales (25 November, 11 a.m.). The fact that Iran still has the historic opportunity to reach a World Cup round of 16 for the first time, despite the clear defeat against England, has long receded into the background. England wants to get their next win in the second group game against the USA (25 November, 8 p.m.).