One goal and two assists for our England Reds
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford scored, and his club colleagues Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw assisted other goals, as England started the 2022 World Cup with an emphatic 6-2 win over Iran.
Gareth Southgate’s side got Group B off to an eye-catching start, dispatching Iran by a four-goal deficit at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar.
And our Reds certainly played their part. Shaw provided a brilliant cross for Jude Bellingham’s headed opener, before Maguire’s cushioned header laid the ball off for Bukayo Saka, who hammered the ball home to make it 2-0.
In the second half, after being introduced on 70 minutes, Rashford slotted home to make it 5-1 at the time, before a late flurry of action saw the eventual scoreline finish 6-2.
Rashfordddddd! 💫— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 21, 2022
Marcus Rashford gets in on the act against Iran immediately after being subbed on!
Five star performance ⭐
💻🖥📱 Watch on @BBCiPlayer, listen on @BBCSounds, get more on the @BBCSport app#BBCFootball #BBCWorldCup
Gareth Southgate’s side started the match with much energy but were halted just 10 minutes in, after Alireza Beiranvand received lengthy treatment following a collision with his own defender.
The Iran goalkeeper was substituted, but the stoppage meant the Three Lions had to build up momentum once more.
But it wasn’t long before they did, and Shaw's superb cross from the left provided a brilliant assist for Bellingham's opener, with the 19-year-old heading into the top corner after 35 minutes to get a goal on his World Cup debut.
Maguire’s physical presence proved an issue for the Iran defence throughout the fixture, and shortly after Bellingham’s header, our club captain cushioned the ball down to Saka from a corner, and the Arsenal winger doubled England's advantage.
The Three Lions had a three-goal lead before the break, with Harry Kane finding Sterling in the middle just minutes after Saka's strike, and the Chelsea attacker made no mistake to fire a volley into the back of the net.
That header 👌— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 21, 2022
Jude Bellingham got England off the mark!#BBCWorldCup #BBCFootball #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/Gb0rSEkZ59
England showed few signs of resting on their laurels after the restart, with Southgate’s side continuing to impose themselves on Iran throughout the second half.
Saka completed his brace just after the hour-mark, driving in from the right before curling into the bottom corner.
Moments later, Mehdi Taremi pulled one back for Iran, firing into the top of the net. In the same move, Maguire went down after a collision and, unfortunately, had to be substituted due to a suspected concussion. He was replaced by Eric Dier.
Our third England Red, Rashford, joined the fray on 70 minutes, and got on the scoresheet within just a minute of being on the pitch.
Marcus finished clinically from the right after being found by Kane, to grab a goal in his first England appearance since Euro 2020 - it was also his first-ever World Cup goal.
Jack Grealish despatched Callum Wilson’s pass from a counter-attack in the latter stages to make it 6-1, before Jordan Pickford turned Sardar Azmoun’s effort onto the crossbar in injury time.
Deep into the additional minutes, Iran were awarded a penalty following a VAR review, and Taremi was on target as the game ended 6-2.
Despite conceding that late goal, Southgate will undoubtedly be happy with the performance of his squad. The three United players in his World Cup squad all had pivotal roles in the victory, and will be hoping to contribute again in the other group matches against USA on Friday and Wales next Tuesday.