England make winning start to World Cup campaign in Qatar thrashing Iran

England make winning start to World Cup campaign in Qatar thrashing Iran

England have thrashed Iran 6-2 in their opening World Cup game in Qatar.

The match at Khalifa International Stadium marked the first-ever encounter between the two teams and saw thousands of fans pack the stands to watch the action unfold.

Before kick-off, some England supporters struggled to enter the stadium due to an issue with the FIFA ticketing app.

As the game began, the Three Lions took the knee in a gesture against racism and inequality after rowing back on a decision for the captain to wear the OneLove armband over a threat by FIFA that it would result in a yellow card for Harry Kane.

The World Cup has been largely overshadowed by non-sporting issues, including criticism of Qatar’s human rights abuses.

In an apparent act of support for protesters back home, Iran’s side chose not to sing their country’s national anthem before the game began.

Within minutes of the match beginning, Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was clattered in the head during a collision with one of his teammates, forcing him to the ground and eventually taken off the pitch on a stretcher with a suspected concussion.

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It was in the 35th minute that England secured their first goal, which was scored by 19-year-old Jude Bellingham.

The side kept pressure on Iran and Bukayo Saka scored a second goal in the 43rd minute before Raheem Sterling made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time.

Saka also scored the fourth goal on 62 minutes before Iran pulled one back in the 65 minute with Mehdi Taremi firing past Jordan Pickford who could only get a hand to the strike.

Marcus Rashford calmly made it 5-1 in the 71st minute, moments after coming on to the pitch as a substitute, and Jack Grealish added to the scoring in the closing minutes of the match.

Iran made it 6-2 in added time after converting a penalty.