Bukayo Saka scored twice as England made a superb start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar courtesy of a 6-2 victory over Iran in their Group B opener.
Gareth Southgate’s men dominated from the off and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham capped an excellent all-round display when he headed home the opener on 35 minutes.
The Three Lions then made it three goals in eight minutes as Saka and Raheem Sterling struck to round-off a first half that was disrupted by a lengthy delay following a concussion to Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand.
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England continued to boss it following the interval and Saka grabbed his second of the match just past the hour with a jinking run and shot.
Iran had barely threatened but pulled one back moments later when Mehdi Taremi rifled a fine first-time shot beyond Jordan Pickford.
Substitute Marcus Rashford then made it five within 49 seconds of taking to the pitch before Jack Grealish tapped home a sixth to round-off a great day for Southgate and co.
Iran were awarded a dubious penalty kick via VAR deep into stoppage-time, which they converted, but it mattered little.
Next up, England face the USA on Friday while Iran take on Wales.

Talking Point - Six of the best but what about the politics?

England came into the match on the back of a six-game winless run but the manner in which they dismantled Iran will have certainly lifted spirits and belief amongst supporters as to what this team could go on to achieve in Qatar.
There were plenty of positives in terms of the football and individual player performances, but it is the pre-match politics that remains high on the agenda in the aftermath.
Iran’s players notably did not sing their own national anthem and their fans booed it, while England backed down on the 'One Love' armband Harry Kane was set to wear after FIFA had threatened the player would receive an automatic booking for sporting it.
Expect more on that to follow as the decision to wear FIFA’s ‘No Discrimination’ armband instead hasn’t gone down well generally with some suggesting it would have unfair on Kane, while others felt it would have been a significant stance.

Player of the match - Jude Bellingham (England)

The 19-year-old has been in fantastic form for his club so far this season and brought that level to the international stage as he helped boss the midfield. He notched his first goal for England, and on this evidence, could well go on to stand out as one of the best young players of the tournament.

Player Ratings

ENGLAND: Pickford 6, Stones 7, Maguire 7, Trippier 8, Shaw 8, Rice 7, Bellingham 8, Mount 7, Saka 8, Kane 7, Sterling 8. Subs: Grealish 6, Rashford 7, Foden 6, Dier 6, Wilson 7.
IRAN: Beiranvand 5, Moharrami 6, Hajsafi 6, Mohammadi 6, Jahanbakhsh 5, Pouraliganji 6, Taremi 6, Cheshmi 6, Karimi 6, M.Hosseini 6, Nourollahi 6. Subs: S.Hosseini 6, Ezatolahi 6, Gholizadeh 6, Kanani 6, Torabi 5, Azmoun 5.
Matchcast: Full match stats and commentary

Match Highlights

35’ – GOAL! – England 1-0 Iran. Bellingham glances a lovely header into the far corner from Shaw's pinpoint cross.
43’ – GOAL! – England 2-0 Iran. Saka rifles Maguire's knock down from a left-wing corner into the top corner from the edge of the area.
45’ – GOAL! – England 3-0 Iran. Sterling volleys home at the near post from Kane's lovely right-wing cross.
62’ – GOAL! – England 4-0 Iran. Saka takes on Sterling's pass, cuts past two and fires a low shot beyond the keeper.
65’ – GOAL! – England 4-1 Iran. Mehdi Taremi races on to a pass from the right and smashes a fine first-time shot beyond Pickford.
71’ – GOAL! – England 5-1 Iran. Rashford makes an instant impact off the bench as he cuts inside his man and rolls a lovely finish into the corner.
90’ – GOAL! – England 6-1 Iran. Grealish taps home after unselfish play from Wilson, who charged clear and opted to cut it back for a simple finish.
90+12’ – GOAL! – England 6-2 Iran. Taremi fires a penalty past Pickford to grab another consolation for Iran at the death.

Key Stats

Bellingham has become England's second youngest scorer at the World Cup (19 years, 145 days) behind only Michael Owen in 1998 (18 years, 190 days).
With goals from Jude Bellingham (19y) and Bukayo Saka (21y), England have had two players aged 21 or under both score in a single World Cup game for the first time in their history
Rashford scored just 49 seconds after coming on for England, the third-quickest goal by a substitute in World Cup history.
Southgate has won more matches at major tournaments (World Cup/EUROs) than any other England manager (9 wins), surpassing Sir Alf Ramsey’s total of eight wins.
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