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England's 93rd different opposition.

twelfth new opposition at World Cup Finals 
1035 vs. Italy
previous match (56 days)
1036 vs. Germany
next match (four days)
1038 vs. United States
1039 vs. Wales

1040 vs. Senegal
1041 vs. France

  Monday, 21 November 2022
2022 FIFA World Cup Finals First Phase Group B match one

England 6 Iran 2 [3-0]
Istād Khalīfah, Baaya, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Kick-off (AST): 4.00pm 1.00pm GMT
Attendance: 45,334
Harry Kane won the toss
117 minutes 59.02 & 58:06
Mehdi Taremi kicked off
after England took the knee
[0-0] Harry Maguire header strikes the crossbar 31:46
[1-0] Jude Bellingham header 35

 looping header from 8 yards from Shaw's cross
[2-0] Bukayo Saka 43 42:46
Harry Maguire: CREATIVE

 left-footed half volley from 15 yards into top right corner after Maguire headed down a corner
[3-0] Raheem Sterling 45+1 45:17
Harry Kane: CREATIVE
 used his right-foot to jab in from 8yds a Kane cross

<1600th post-war goal scored

<200th goal scored on a Monday
[4-0] Bukayo Saka 62 61:26
Raheem Sterling: CREATIVE

 took a pass from Sterling outside the area before skipping and twisting past the defence into the area to unleash a left-footed low strike from 14yds.

[5-1] Marcus Rashford 71 70:51
Harry Kane: CREATIVE

 took a pass from Kane outside the area before twisting past the defence into the area to place a left-footed low strike from 8yds.
[6-1] Jack Grealish 90 89:01
Callum Wilson: CREATIVE

 right-footed placed shot from 7yds after Wilson ran through and placed the ball across the area

[4-1] Mehdi Taremi 65 64:33
right-footed from 9yds in off Pickford's crossbar following an Ali Gholizadeh through-ball

[6-1] Sardar Azmoun strike saved onto bar 97:41
[6-2]Mehdi Taremi pen. 90+13 102:30
right-footed placed shot to right of goal
(Stones fouled Pouraliganji 99:00)
VAR awarded 101:06
  Alireza Jahanbakhsh 25 24:22
  Morteza Pouraliganji 48 47:51   
  Commentator: Guy Mowbray with Jermaine Jenas (viewing figures average 7.4million)
"THE SIX PISTOLS" Mirror Sport
Officials from Brazil England Squad Type Iran Squad
Referee (black)
Raphael Claus
43 (6 September 1979), Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, FIFA listed 2015.
13 Goal Attempts 8
7 Attempts on Target 3
Assistant Referees 1 Hit Bar/Post 1
Rodrigo Figueiredo Henrique Correa
38 (2 January 1983)
Danilo Ricardo Simon Manis
42 (6 June 1981)
8 Corner Kicks Won 0
Fourth official
Kevin Ortega
Pimentel 30 (26 March 1992), Peru
Reserve Assistant Referee
Luis Orué Medina 37 (1 May 1985) Peru
2 Offside Calls Against 2
9 Fouls Conceded 14
78% Possession 22%
Video Assistant Officials             
Leodán González 39 (11 March 1983), Uruguay
Assistant - Julio Bascuñán, Chile; Offside - Martin Soppi, Uruguay; Support - Juan Martinez Munuera, Spain; Standby - Juan Pablo Belatti, Argentina
England Team
Rank FIFA (6th October 2022) 5th
EFO ranking Group One (4th)
ELO rating 13th to 11th
Colours The Nike 2022 home uniform - White crew-necked jerseys with dark to light blue fury gradient sleeves, fury/void cuffs, blue void shorts, white socks with fury/void thin hoop.
Captain Harry Kane
Manager Gareth Southgate, 52 (3 September 1970), appointed caretaker manager on 27 September 2016, appointed as permanent manager on 30 November 2016.
⁴³ most goals as captain
51st of 71, W 30 - D 11 - L 10 - F 117 - A 45.
  Kieran Trippier 74:54 P 77th of 102, W 47 - D 17 - L 13 - F 167 - A 55
England Lineup
  four changes to the previous match (Pope, Dier, James & Foden out) league position (10th November)  
1 Pickford, Jordan L. 28
259 days
7 March 1994
Everton FC (PL 16th)
the 3rd goalkeeper to concede 7 penalties
12 Trippier, Kieran J. 32
63 days
19 September 1990 RB Newcastle United FC (PL 3rd) 38 1
5 Stones, John 28
177 days
28 May 1994 RCD Manchester City FC (PL 2nd) 60 3
45th player to reach the 60-app milestone
Maguire, J. Harry, unwell off 68th min. (67:34). 29
261 days
5 March 1993 LCD Manchester United FC (PL 5th) 49 7
Shaw, Luke P.H. 27
132 days
12 July 1995 LB Manchester United FC (PL 5th) 24 3
Bellingham, Jude V.W. 19
145 days
29 June 2003 RDM Bsv Borussia 09 Dortmund, Germany 18 1
4 Rice, Declan 23
311 days
14 January 1999 LDM West Ham United FC (PL 15th) 35 2
Saka, Bukayo A.T., off 71st min. 21
77 days
5 September 2001 RAM Arsenal FC (PL TOP) 21 6
the 368th (235th post-war) brace scored
19 Mount, Mason T., off 71st min. 23
315 days
10 January 1999 AM Chelsea FC (PL 7th) 33 5
Sterling, Raheem S., off 71st min. 27
348 days
8 December 1994
in Kingston, Jamaica
Chelsea FC (PL 7th) 80 20
seventeenth player to reach the 80-app milestone
23rd player to score twenty goals
Kane, Harry E., off 75th min. 29
116 days
28 July 1993 CF Tottenham Hotspur FC (PL 4th) 76 51
England Substitutes
scoreline: England 4 Iran 1
15 Dier, Eric J.E., on 70th min. (69:20) for Maguire 28
310 days
15 January 1994 LCD Tottenham Hotspur FC (PL 4th) 48 37 3
11 Rashford, Marcus, on 71st min. (70:01) for Saka 25
22 days
31 October 1997 RAM Manchester United FC (PL 5th) 47 21 13
102nd goal by a substitute
7 Grealish, Jack P., on 71st min. (70:09) for Sterling 27
73 days
10 September 1995 LAM Manchester City FC (PL 2nd) 25 12 2
103rd goal by a substitute
20 Foden, Philip W., on 71st min. (70:15) for Mount 22
177 days
28 May 2000 AM Manchester City FC (PL 2nd) 19 13 2
scoreline: England 5 Iran 1
Wilson, Callum E.G., on 75th min. (74:57) for Kane 30
267 days
27 February 1992 CF Newcastle United FC (PL 3rd) 5
1 1
the 39th United player to represent England  
result: England 6 Iran 2
unused substitutes: 2-Kyle Walker (unavailable), 8-Jordan Henderson, 13-Nick Pope, 14-Kalvin Phillips, 16-Conor Coady, 18-Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21-Ben White, 23-Aaron Ramsdale, 26-Conor Gallagher.
team notes: Raheem Sterling has now been at three different World Cup Final tournaments with three different clubs, Liverpool, Manchester City and now Chelsea.
Tottenham Hotspur have now provided the team captain for 97 matches, two more than Wolverhampton Wanderers, but still one less than Liverpool and 41 less than Manchester United.
Jack Grealish's great great grandfather, Billy Garraty, also played for England in 1903.
Callum Wilson was originally readied as a substitute for the 64th minute, but following the illness to Harry Maguire when Iran scored their first goal, Wilson's place went to Dier, who was then not allowed to immediately replace Maguire. leaving England playing with ten men for almost two minutes.
goal records: Jude Bellingham becomes the second teenager to score for England at the World Cup Finals and the eighteenth teenager to score for England overall, but the latest (in appes) to score his first (18th).
Bukayo Saka becomes the youngest England player to score two goals in World Cup Finals.
manager records: Gareth Southgate has now gone one better than Sir Alf Ramsey victories in Major Tournament Finals (WC/EC). His nine to Ramsey's eight.
records: England ended a run of six competitive matches without victory with this emphatic win.
No other captain has led England into more Major Tournament Final matches than Harry Kane, his fifteenth is one more than David Beckham.
World Cup records: This is England's thirtieth victory in their seventieth World Cup Finals match.
England scored six again in a World Cup Finals tournament having first achieving the feat in 2018 against Panama.
This is the best opening-Tournament result England have achieved, beating the previous best in 1982 when they beat France 3-1.
All five of England's goalscorers were scoring their first England goal in a World Cup Final tournament.
Iran's second goal was the tenth conceded by Jordan Pickford at WCF, equal with Peter Shilton.
Jude Bellingham is the 120th different goalscorer for England in World Cup (preliminary & Finals) play.
Not since Steven Gerrard against Sweden in June 2006 has a substitute scored at a WCF.
4-2-3-1 Pickford -
Trippier, Stones, Maguire
(Dier), Shaw -
Bellingham, Rice -
(Rashford), Mount (Foden), Sterling (Grealish) -
Averages (Starting XI): Age 26 years 202 days Appearances/Goals 43.6 8.6
Iran Team
Rank FIFA (6th October 2022) 20th
EFO ranking n/a
ELO rating
24th to 30th
Colours Made by Majid - red crew-necked jerseys with darker red sleeves and white/green collar trim, red shorts and red socks
Captain Eshan Hajsafi Head Coach Carlos Manuel Brito Leal de Queiroz
69 (1 March 1953 in Nampula, Portuguese Mozambique), re-appointed 7 September 2022 for second time (previously 4 April 2011-28 January 2019).
28th captaincy this tenure - third match, W 1 - D 1 - L 1 - F 4 - A 7. total - 103rd, W 61 - D 28 - L 14 - F 185 - A 67.
Iran Lineup
1 Beiranvand, Alireza S., injured (7:14), off 19th min. (18:56) 30
61 days
21 September 1992 G Persepolis FC 54 0
2 Moharrami, Sadegh G. 26
242 days
24 March 1996 RB Gnk Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia 23 0
8 Pouraliganji, Morteza 30
216 days
19 April 1992 RCD
Persepolis FC
48th min. for trying to tackle a sprinting Harry Kane, bringing him down.
15 Cheshmi, Rouzbeh, off half-time 29
120 days
24 July 1993 CD Esteghial FC 21 1
19 Hosseini, S. Majid 26
154 days
20 June 1996 LCD Kayseri Sk, Turkey 20 0
5 Mohammadi Keshmarzi, Milad, off 63rd min. 29
53 days
29 September 1993 LB Athlitikí Énosis Konstantinoupóleos, Greece 47 1
7 Jahanbakhsh Jirandeh, Alireza, off half-time 29
102 days
11 August 1993 RM
Feyenoord Rotterdam, Netherlands
25th min. for going in late on Luke Shaw and standing on his boot.
21 Nourollahi, Ahmad, off 76th min. 29
323 days
2 January 1993 RCM Shabab Al-Ahli Club, UAE 28 3
18 Karimi, Ali N., off half-time 28
283 days
11 February 1994 LCM Kayseri Sk, Turkey 15 0
3 Hajsafi, Ehsan 32
269 days
25 February 1990 LM Athlitikí Énosis Konstantinoupóleos, Greece 123 7
9 Taremi, Mehdi 30
126 days
18 July 1992 CF FC do Porto, Portugal 62 30
63rd pen against scored (92nd overall)
Iran Substitutes

Concussion Substitution

175 days
30 May 1992 G Esteghial FC 8 0
24 Hosseini, S.Hossein, on 20th min. (19:01) for Beiranvand
scoreline: England 3 Iran 0
6 Ezatolahi Afagh, Saeid, on half-time for Karimi 26
51 days
1 October 1996 CM Vejle Bk, Denmark 49 1
Gholizadeh Nojedeh, Ali, on half-time for Jahanbakhsh 26
256 days
10 March 1996 RM Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium 28 6
13 Kanaani Zadegan Keshmarzi, M. Hossein, on half-time for Cheshmi 28
243 days
23 March 1994 CB Al-Ahli SC, Qatar 37 1
scoreline: England 4 Iran 0
16 Torabi, Mehdi, on 63rd min. (62:35) for Mohammadi 28
72 days
10 September 1994 AM Persepolis FC 38 7
scoreline: England 5 Iran 1
20 Azmoun, Sardar, on 76th min. for (75:45) Nourollahi 27
324 days
1 January 1995 F Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Germany 66 41
result: England 6 Iran 2
unused substitutes: 4-Shojae Khalilzadeh, 10-Karim Ansarifard, 11-Vahid Amiri, 12-Seyedpayam Niazmand, 14-Saman Ghoddos, 22-Amir Abedzadeh, 23-Ramin Rezaeian, 25-Abolfazi Jalali.
team notes: Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, in reaching for a Harry Kane cross, received a collision in the head by his own player Majid Hosseini (7:14) on the six yard-line and went down for treatment, which he received almost immediately, three minutes later, reserve goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini began his warm-up routine, and was soon ordered to prepare to replace the keeper (12:25), however, the only thing that was replaced was Beiranvand's jersey (13:30) with Hosseini waiting on the touchline. Play resumed with Beiranvand wearily taking a goalkick (15:38). When the ball next went out of play for an England throw-in (16:10), Beiranvand signalled for himself to finally be replaced, afterwhich he laid himself down (16:19) and waited for the stretcher to take him off (17:30).
records: This is Iran's worst defeat in a World Cup Finals match, beating the previous record of 1-4 against Peru in 1978.
manager Carlos Quieroz has been in charge of six countries in his time as a coach, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Iran, Colombia and Egypt... but this is his first match against England.
5-4-1 Beiranvand (H.Hosseini)-
Moharrami, Pouraliganji, Cheshmi
(Kanaani Zadegan), Hosseini, Mohammadi (Torebi) -
(Gholizadeh), Noorollahi (Azmoun), Karimi (Ezatolahi), Hajisafi -
Averages (Starting XI): Age 29 years 147 days Appearances/Goals 46.1 5.1
    Match Report by Mike Payne

As someone who remembers the turgid goalless draw against Uruguay in the first group match of the 1966 World Cup, the opener of the 2022 tournament was an altogether different kettle of fish! "Surely we should beat Iran?" was the consensus of opinion, but in football, anything can happen, and us regular England watchers have seen it all. This time, however, it was almost all good news.

Right from the start England dominated possession with Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Mason Mount in command of the midfield, and feeding the ball forward at every opportunity. There was also fine support from Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier down the flanks, and that stretched Iran's defence to the limits. On three minutes the first of many Trippier crosses so nearly found Raheem Sterling until it was intercepted by a defender at the last moment. A few seconds later, how England were not awarded a penalty will remain a mystery for years to come.

Harry Maguire, up for a corner, was grappled to the ground by 5, using both hands in a grip that Jackie Pallo (who?) would have been proud of. It was so blatant that everyone saw it. A penalty? No, as the referee didn't give it and no-one felt the need to call in VAR. Nobody could understand the decision, but no matter, on with the game. England continued to press and Maguire was almost on the end of a fine cross by Harry Kane, alas his shot hit the side-netting. A few seconds later the Iran goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand, punched clear, only for him to collide with a defender in a nasty collision. The keeper was obviously in real trouble and the game's protocol and common sense should have seen him substituted there and then. Instead we had a very prolonged stoppage, heightened by him going down again a few moments later, this time he finally had to go off. In the first 15 minutes of the game, only about six minutes were actual game time.

Not surprisingly both sides were unsettled by the injury and play was scrappy for a while. A shot by Bukayo Saka relieved the tension but it was an easy save for the new keeper, Hossein Hosseini. Then. on 30 minutes Saka centred to the near post and Mount so nearly scored, just steering his shot wide of the post. Two minutes later, Maguire, in attack again at a corner, and this time his header struck the corner of post and crossbar before being hacked clear. Was it going to be one of those days perhaps? We didn't have to wait long for the answer to that question.

On 35 minutes a fine cross from the left by Shaw, was met by a marauding Bellingham, and his looping header dropped into the net in the top corner. The Borussia Dortmund player thus joined Michael Owen as the second youngest World Cup goalscorer for England. The goal was also the trigger for better things from England. With two minutes of the 45 remaining, Saka scored another as Maguire, always in the action, headed down for Saka to rifle the ball home. The look of delight on the youngster's face said it all. Two minutes later, England were in dreamland. A fabulous cross from Kane from the right was met brilliantly by Sterling who volleyed the ball home with the outside of his foot. Good move, good cross and a great finish. The first half was up, or so we thought until the referee added on 14 minutes of time, mainly due to the goalkeeper's unfortunate injury.

The second-half started slowly and the first incident of any note was when Shaw had a shot blocked. Meanwhile, Bellingham was still the dominant figure in the match, however, on 62 minutes it was Saka again who showed his class. Sterling passed to him and Saka just glided past defenders before calmly slotting home a sublime finish.

You know England well though, don't you, and it was never going to be totally straight forward. On 65 minutes Iran pulled a goal back. Gholizadeh gained possession just outside the box, and fed a delightful pass into the path of their top striker, Medhi Taremi, and his first time shot gave Jordan Pickford no chance. The goal was taken with some aplomb, but Pickford was furious at losing his clean sheet. Just a lapse of concentration by England, and a message for the future perhaps.

With 20 minutes to go England made some substitutions. Maguire came off, after apparently feeling unwell, it was revealed later, whilst Saka, Sterling and Mount made way for Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish to grab a taste of World Cup action. Just a few moments later, manager Gareth Southgate was congratulating himself as Rashford scored with his first touch. Well, actually it was his third touch. Pickford's long clearance found Kane, who cleverly held off a defender before passing to Rashford. The striker controlled the ball with his first touch, cut inside a defender with his second touch, and calmly shot his goal with his third. A fine goal, which will do the youngster a power of good.

Southgate then rested Kane, replacing the skipper with Callum Wilson, and with a minute of normal time to go, a powerful tackle by Bellingham saw the ball fly into the path of Wilson, galloping at speed down the right. He ran hard to the byeline before pulling the ball back to Grealish, who had a simple task to score. What a delight that was, especially as the Manchester City player made a young lad from Manchester very happy by remembering to do the ‘wiggly worm' celebration especially for the ecstatic 12-year-old Finlay Fisher back home. A lovely touch.

Another 12 minutes were added on, making a mockery of the 90 minutes the game is supposed to last, making 26 minutes of added time all told! What is that all about, although in the early games being played all have had long added extras.

On 90+8 minutes, Pickford made a fine save from Sardar Azmoun, tipping the shot onto the bar and away, but there was still time for one last piece of action, and a rather controversial decision, remembering the Maguire penalty incident earlier. A cross came into the England box, and the usual jostling was going on, but suddenly and inexplicably, VAR was called in by the referee. An innocuous shirt pull by John Stones was spotted and a penalty was awarded. Taremi scored his second from the spot, and it was virtually the last kick of the match. An annoying end, but nothing could take away the overall satisfaction of the England performance and win.

Man of the Match? Bellingham or Saka, I'll let you decide.


Source Notes

BBC Sport
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor