Superb Saka the star for England as they run riot in opening match demolition of Iran

Superb Saka the star for England as they run riot in opening match demolition of Iran
Bukayo Saka scored twice for England against Iran
Bukayo Saka scored twice for England against Iran
StatsPerform, AFP
England bossed the first half against Iran in Doha. Jude Bellingham (19) opened the scoring in the 35th minute and that was soon followed by a one-two punch with goals in quick succession by Bukayo Saka (21) and Raheem Sterling (27) to make it 3-0 before the break. Iran managed two goals of their own in the second half but, unfortunately for them, England added a further three for themselves and ultimately cruised to victory in the opening Group B match at the World Cup.

16:18 CET: And that's all folks. It's been a pretty uneven contest, as the scoreline suggests, with Gareth Southgate's team getting their tournament off to an absolute flyer against Iran. 

There were plenty of positives for England with Bukayo Saka the real standout in what was an almost flawless display. Of course, conceding two goals is not ideal but the last-minute penalty was debatable. That won't bother Southgate too much.

For Iran, it's a matter of putting that defeat behind them as quickly as possible and focusing on their other group matches with Wales and the USA

Check out our full match report here, written by Ryan Fisher, and have a look at all the match stats below or here.

Full match stats from England versus Iran

Second Half

16:15 CET: And that consolation prize for Iran is to be the last action of this eventful but one-sided contest. 

16:13 CET: Goal! Taremi scores the spot kick to make it two for the game and bring the score back to 6-2.

16:10 CET: Penalty! After a VAR review, a penalty has been awarded to Iran due to John Stones' handling of Taremi. 

16:08 CET: Azmoun breaks through to a one-on-one with Pickford but his effort is tipped onto the bar. Can Iran get one back?

16:03 CET: There will be a whole 10 minutes of added time in the second half, hardly what the Iranian team need now. They must be desperate to end this match and move on.

15:59 CET: GOAL! Jack Grealish makes it six for England with a simple finish into an empty net after Wilson does all the work down the right and tees him up inside the area. He does a little dance to celebrate and it's all smiles now for Southgate's team.

15: 48 CET: Iran's star man Sardar Azmoun comes on in place of Ahmad Noorollahi. Here's hoping it's not too little, too late but it does seem so with only a bit over 10 minutes to go of regular time.

15:46 CET: Captain Harry Kane is subbed off for Callum Wilson for England. It's probably wise for Southgate to rest as many of his troops as possible.

15:42 CET: GOAL! That was quick. Marcus Rashford, who was just subbed onto the field, cuts in from the right and fires it in for a fifth goal. 

15:41 CET: England have made four changes now as they look to rest some players with the game all but won.

Saka, Sterling, Mount and Maguire make way for Rashford, Dier, Foden and Grealish

15:38 CET: Harry Maguire has left the field with an injury. 

13:35 CET: GOAL! This time it's Iran, though. Mehdi Taremi smashes the ball beyond Pickford and into the roof of the net with a fantastic first-time finish. Hopefully, this picks the Iranians up a bit.

15:30 CET: GOAL! Bukayo Saka scores again to make it four for England and now Southgate's men are really flying.

Sterling found Saka out on the right wing in space and he then drove the ball towards the goal. After beating his man, he calmly slotted it beyond the hapless keeper and into the bottom corner.

15:20 CET: Morteza Pouraliganji is booked for an aggressive challenge on Kane.

15:15 CET: The second half gets underway and Iran have made three substitutions in an effort to affect things.

Cheshmi, Jahanbakhsh and Karimi all come off. They are replaced by Kanaani, Gholizadeh and Ezatolahi.

First Half

As you can see from the stats below, England have absolutely suffocated Iran in the first half of their Group B opener in Doha. 

First half stats from England versus Iran

15:03 CET: That's halftime at the Khalifa International Stadium and England go into the break with a well-deserved and hefty lead. They took their chances clinically and it will be hard for Iran to come back into this game especially given they haven't shown much going forward. 

14:55 CET: As you can imagine from the scoreline, England have been absolutely dominant in the first half. Stay tuned for a breakdown of the statistics at the break.

14:50 CET: There will be 14 minutes of additional time in the first half due to the lengthy injury break earlier. You get the impression that the Iranian payers can't wait for halftime, though.

14:46 CET: A THIRD GOAL! Raheem Sterling sweeps in a first-time shot following a Kane cross to make it 3-0 before halftime.

14:45 CET: GOAL! And before Iran can settle after the first strike, Bukayo Saka doubles the lead for England with a sublime shot from the edge of the area. The ball had been bouncing around and fell invitingly to Saka who fired it home.  

14:35 CET: GOAL! Jude Bellingham opens the scoring for England with a pinpoint header into the top corner. The goalkeeper could do nothing about that. After a well-timed run into the box, Luke Shaw's cross found Bellingham who did the rest.

14:32 CET: England come close to breaking the deadlock as Maguire rattles the crossbar with a header off a Tripper corner.

14:30 CET: After some good build up play, Bukayo Saka finds Mason Mount in the area but he can only shoot wide.

14:25 CET: Alireza Jahanbakhsh is booked for a coming through the back of Luke Shaw.

14:17 CET: Unsurprisingly, Beiranvand has gone down again and now the change of goalkeeper will happen. It's not a great way to start any match but it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to head injuries. Hossein Hosseini comes on between the sticks for Iran.

14:15 CET: After a long stoppage for the concussion assessment protocols to take place, it seems as though Beiranvand will not be replaced.

14:10 CET: Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand has suffered a nasty head collision with his own defender and is being assessed by medical staff.

14:05 CET: England have had the better start to the game, dominating possession and winning an early corner. There was a speculative shout for a penalty from the England players for a pull during the corner but the referee wasn't moved.

14:00 CET: Iran kick off the match and both teams' 2022 World Cup journeys.

13:57 CET: Emotional scenes at the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, as the Iranian players don't sing along to their national anthem and tears roll down the cheeks of onlookers.


Based on the lineups, it looks as though Gareth Southgate will be setting England up with a back four of Trippier, Stones, Maguire and Shaw.

We've seen Southgate rotate between a back four and three over the years depending on the opposition. Today, it seems as though he's injected a little bit more attacking potential into his side with one defender dropping out of his usually favoured 3-4-3 system in exchange for a 4-3-3 shape.

England: Jordan Pickford, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling

Iran: Alireza Beiranvand, Sadegh Moharrami, Ehsan Hajsafi, Milad Mohammadi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mehdi Taremi, Rouzbeh Cheshmi, Ali Karimi, Majid Hosseini, Ahmad Nourollahi

Team News

England's James Maddison (25) and Kyle Walker (32) have both been ruled out of the match with injuries.

Iran's Sardar Azmoun (27) was expected to miss the game but is named among the substitutes.


You can follow all the action from England and Iran's opening match at the 2022 World Cup using our audio commentary feature which starts five minutes before kick-off.

Find our audio commentary here.