England's six-y football! Three Lions enjoy record breaking World Cup win thrashing Iran 6-2

21 November 2022, 13:19 | Updated: 21 November 2022, 16:07

England went 5-1 up after goals from Bellingham, Saka, Sterling and Rashford
England beat Iran 6-2 in a sensational performance in Doha. Picture: Alamy

By Stephen Rigley

England's World Cup campaign finally got under way today with a storming start in their opening game against Iran.

Jude Bellingham scored first, heading home from a cross from Luke Shaw, before Bukayo Saka hit home off a corner. Then just minutes later Raheem Sterling scored a volley, putting England three goals up before half time.

Saka scored a second in the second half, before Iran's Mehdi Taremi earned his side a goal back, putting the ball past Jordan Pickford with a solid strike that went in off the crossbar.

Then Marcus Rashford came on for Saka in the 70th minute before going on to score almost immediately with only his third touch of the ball, putting England 5-1 in the lead.

A few minutes before full time Jack Grealish made it 6-1 to England after a fast break.

Iran were awarded a penalty late in the match after a VAR check. John Stones was found to have pulled the shirt of Taremi, who sent Pickford the wrong way to reduce the arrears to 6-2 with the last kick of the game.

England looked in complete control, enjoying the lion's share of possession, playing freely - with Iran hardly having a touch in the opposing half and with almost no shots on goal.

Saka scored England's second goal
Saka scored England's second goal. Picture: Alamy

England were denied a clear penalty just three minutes into the game, when Harry Maguire was dragged down in the box. Maguire then headed against the crossbar.

Thousands of supporters watched on at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha, including the players’ WAGs and David Beckham. Back at home, millions of people were watching in pubs and at homes, with high streets deserted as they settled down to watch.

The England players took the knee before a sea of empty seats after scores of fans were unable to get into the stadium because of a glitch in FIFA's ticketing app.

The chaos involving FIFA's much-heralded ticketing app comes after the start of the tournament was hit by a string of scandals.

Raheem Sterling scored England's third goal of the game
Raheem Sterling scored England's third goal of the game. Picture: Alamy

Hours before kick off England backed down in the latest row after FIFA threatened to book any player wearing a 'OneLove' armband signalling support for LGTBQ+ rights.

England players take the knee ahead of the World Cup opener against Iran
England players take the knee ahead of the World Cup opener against Iran. Picture: Getty
England fans struggled to get into the stadium due to ticket chaos
England fans struggled to get into the stadium due to ticket chaos. Picture: Getty
England line up against Iran
England line up against Iran. Picture: Getty

Speaking about the ticket chaos Fifa said in a statement: “Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA Ticketing app.

“FIFA is working on solving the issue.“In the meantime fans who are not able to access their mobile tickets should check the email accounts they used to register with the Ticketing app for further instructions.”

“In case fans cannot access their email accounts, the stadium’s Ticket Resolution Point will be able to support. We thank fans for their understanding as we work to fix the issue as soon as possible.”

The game kicked off in 28C heat this afternoon, following a controversy over OneLove armbands.

England and Wales backed down after some players planned to wear the armband during matches to promote diversity and inclusion.

"FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play. As national federations, we can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games," a joint statement from the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland said.

The teams said they were prepared to "pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations" but "cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play".

"We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented - we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response," the statement added.

Downing Street said Fifa's actions over the armband were frustrating.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We share the FA's frustration with Fifa's decision on this which puts players in a very difficult position.

"It is, ultimately, a decision for the FA.

"On LGBT rights more broadly, clearly Qatar's policies are not those of the UK Government and not ones we would endorse."

The row comes after the start of the World Cup has been marred by a string of controversies concerning Qatar's record on human rights

Nine skippers including Kane and Wales captain Gareth Bale had pledged to wear the multi-coloured heart armbands as a gesture of solidarity against host nation Qatar's anti-LGBT laws .

Homosexuality remains outlawed in the Gulf State, with those convicted facing up to seven years in prison. The wearing of the armband by skippers is intended to highlight the issue.

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