England kick off campaign with big win over Iran

Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford scored three goals in England’s 6-2 loss to Iran at the World Cup, beating last year’s European Championship loss.

Both players missed a penalty in their penalty shoot-out when they lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final and were subsequently subjected to racial harassment. A year later, Saka scored two goals at the Khalifa International Stadium and Rashford came off the bench with the first move of the game and added another.

It has been a difficult set-up for England, but it was a performance that would encourage manager Gareth Southgate, who has been through the most difficult period of his tenure in England recently.

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He was booed after a 4-0 loss to Hungary in June and humiliated by his own supporters for shouting «You don’t know what you’re doing».

Hundreds of fans missed the start of the match due to an issue with digital tickets. When they finally took their place, they witnessed an extremely dominant demonstration from England.

Jude Bellingham scored his first international goal in the 35th minute.

Saka then took the lead in the 43rd minute and Raheem Sterling added another halftime stoppage. Although Saka scored his second goal an hour later, Mehdi Taremi scored a goal for Iran in the 65th minute.

Rashford took a hit six minutes later to boost England’s win 5-1, and Jack Grealish came off the bench to add sixth in the 90’s.

Taremi added another penalty spot for Iran after John Stones was penalized for keeping Morteza Pouraliganji’s shirt inside the penalty area.

Iranian goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand was injured and left the pitch early after he collided head-on with a teammate during his team’s World Cup opening match against England on Monday.

Treated after a collision with Majid Hosseini at the Khalifa International Stadium, Beiranvand initially tried to continue playing, although the match was paused for a few minutes.

Iranian team medics and captain Ehsan Hajisafi took care of the goalkeeper, who looked uncomfortable with his nose bleeding. At one point Hajisafi splashed water on Beiranvand’s face.

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With replacement Hossein Hosseini on standby and ready to arrive, Iran has decided to leave Beyranvand on the field in a move that seems to go against FIFA concussion protocols.

«If there are signs or symptoms of brain damage, or if a concussive injury is suspected despite the absence of signs or symptoms, the doctor/therapist should remove the player from the field for further investigation (using a concussion backup if applicable/required),» the governing body’s guidance states.

However, Beiranvand briefly continued before asking to be replaced a few minutes later, collapsing to the ground and eventually leaving the field on a stretcher.

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