Football, Sport

Qatar 2022: Saka shines as England thrash Iran

Bukayo Saka scored a brace for England

England started their World Cup campaign on a bright note in Qatar, beating Iran 6-2 in their opening Group B match on Monday afternoon.

The Three Lions were the better side from the blast of the whistle as they controlled proceedings, with Iran left chasing the game.

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Iran’s nightmare started as the goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand, went down injured with a nosebleed. He tried to continue but could not and was replaced by Hossein Hosseini.

Harry Maguire almost put his side ahead in the 32nd minute, but his header from Kieran Trippier’s corner struck the crossbar.

England continued to lay siege to the Iran goal, with their effort paying off in the 35th minute through Jude Bellingham’s header from Luke Shaw’s cross.

Bellingham scores for England
Bellingham celebrates after scoring for England

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder put his header beyond Hosseini to put England ahead in the match.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka then doubled the lead for England in the 44th minute after Maguire’s cross found him in the Iran box.

England were not done for the half as Raheem Sterling brilliantly poked home Harry Kane’s well-timed in the first minute of added time before half-time to ensure Gareth Southgate’s side went in with a three-goal lead.

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When the second half kicked off, England picked up the momentum they had during the first, with Saka netting again in the 62nd minute, assisted by Sterling.

With England leading 4-0, Iran pulled one back through Porto forward, Mehdi Taremi.

However, England scored their fifth through Marcus Rashford, a minute after he was subbed on in the 71st minute. The final nail was driven into Iran’s coffin after Callum Wilson found Jack Grealish in the 90th minute with a cross for the Manchester City man to drive home for England’s sixth.

Iran grabbed their second goal through Taremi after John Stones was adjudged to have pulled an opponent in the box, while vying for a corner.

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Referee Raphael Claus of Brazil had to consult the pitch-side Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor before awarding the penalty.

Taremi sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way to give Carlos Queiroz’s men their second goal in the 13t minute of added time.

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Ademola is a writer, editor and proofreader with many years of experience. He loves music, football and books.

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