England 6-2 Iran LIVE! World Cup 2022 result, match stream, latest reaction and updates today

England 6-2 Iran LIVE! World Cup 2022 result, match stream, latest reaction and updates today

England vs Iran - LIVE!

England hammered Iran 6-2 on in an emphatic World Cup opener thanks to two goals from Bukayo Saka and strikes by Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling, before substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish rounded off the rout.

England had come close to taking the lead in the Group B opener, with Harry Maguire heading against the crossbar, before Bellingham, 19, steered in a header from a Luke Shaw cross in the 35th minute. Eight minutes later, England doubled their lead when Maguire climbed highest from a corner to head down for Saka to score.

Sterling flicked in a cross by captain Harry Kane in first-half stoppage time before Saka bamboozled Iran’s defence and made it 4-0 in the 62nd minute. Mehdi Taremi narrowed the gap for Iran three minutes later but Rashford made it 5-1 and Grealish, also coming off the bench, scored England’s sixth. Taremi scored a consolation second goal for Iran from the penalty spot in the dying seconds

England vs Iran latest news

  • GOAL! Grealish gets England’s sixth late on

  • GOAL! Taremi gets one back for Iran

  • GOAL! Saka nets second as rout continues

  • GOAL! Saka strike doubles the lead

  • GOAL! Bellingham heads England in front

England 6 - 2 Iran

England produce statement performance

19:08 , Matt Verri

England were too cowardly to make a statement with an armband against Iran but Gareth Southgate’s bravery was rewarded with a statement performance as his side began the World Cup with a 6-2 dismantling of Iran.

All of Southgate’s big tactical and selection decisions were vindicated at the Khalifa International Stadium, as Jude Bellingham, a Bukayo Saka double, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish earned England a routine victory which puts them firmly in control of Group B.

Given the abjectness of Iran, Wales’ meeting with the USA on Monday night could be decisive but England’s performance will nonetheless put the tournament’s other favourites on alert, and fill the squad with belief after a dismal run of form and a build-up overshadowed by off-field issues.

Read Dan Kilpatrick’s full match analysis here

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Southgate on ‘OneLove’ armband debate

18:27 , Matt Verri

Gareth Southgate has moved to draw a line under England’s ‘OneLove’ armband fiasco, saying the squad should “channel our energies” elsewhere after the Football Association’s climbdown on Monday morning.

“I do understand FIFA’s situation in that if you set precedent it’s very difficult then and where do you draw a line.

“I think in an ideal world, it would have been a much clearer situation earlier but it’s not something that’s been a distraction for us because we said yesterday we had to focus on the football.

“There’s so much else going on but we can’t really be involved in that, we’ve just got to concentrate on performances, our training.”

Read more on that


Queiroz sends message to fans

17:59 , Matt Verri

Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz has told the country’s fans to “stay home” if they do not support his team after their national anthem was booed ahead of the 6-2 drubbing by England on Monday.

Ahead of their opening World Cup game, Iran’s players stayed silent during the anthem in what appeared to be a protest in support of the ongoing demonstrations in the country, while Iranian supporters in the crowd booed and jeered throughout.

Those that come to disturb the team with the issues that are not only about football opinions, they are not welcome because our boys are just simple football boys.

“These kids, they have one dream: to play football., It is not their fault the World Cup happens in this moment.”

Read the full story on that here

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Carlos Queiroz on Iran performance

17:25 , Matt Verri

“My view is simple and very pragmatic. The game was finished in the first half at 3-0 down. The only goal then was to enjoy the game and be part of one moment that we should keep brave and try to play our football.

“The beginning was clear between high level competitive football and our players who don’t have the same experience. But we win or we learn. We are privileged to learn a lot from the English team and are better prepared to play Wales.”

More Group B action to come!

17:18 , Matt Verri

Reminder that Wales and the USA get their World Cup campaigns up and running this evening.

Huge match for both sides - winner, if there is one, will be very much in pole position to reach the last-16.

You can follow full coverage of that match here.


Update on Kane and Maguire

17:05 , Matt Verri

Southgate confused about penalty decision

16:52 , Matt Verri

“We are intrigued to know because we had meeting the other day where it was made very clear what would be given as a penalty and we didn’t get one and then had one given against us at the end.

“We will have to speak to find out how that is going to be.”

Moment to remember for Rashford!

16:42 , Matt Verri

Trippier’s post-match thoughts

16:31 , Matt Verri

“There were moments in the game where we know we can improve, myself included I gave the ball away a few times. We've got to enjoy three points and move on to the next game.

"Winning first game in the group is always important, we wanted to be on the front foot, we were clinical in the right moments. Now we've got to rest, recover and focus on the next one.

"You can see the attacking players we've got, players off the bench made an impact. We've got quality in the team but it's about expressing ourselves. We can enjoy this game but still learn from certain moments and focus on USA."

Next up for England...

16:21 , Matt Verri

The USA are England’s next opponents, that match taking place at 7pm GMT on Friday evening.

Gareth Southgate’s side then play their final group-stagematch against Wales a week tomorrow, again it’s a 7pm kick-off.

Three Lions huge favourites to top Group B - Wales and the USA face each other this evening in what is likely to be a pivotal clash for second place.

Bellingham ‘really proud’ after first goal

16:12 , Matt Verri

Jude Bellingham reflected on “a really proud moment” as the teenager scored his first England goal in a dominant World Cup win.

“I thought [my goal] had missed,” Bellingham told BBC Sport. “It took ages to loop into the goal.

“It was a brilliant ball from Shaw. A really proud moment for me. We have to get ready for the next game. We’ll still be at the same level, trying to get two more wins, and get that mentality into hopefully the rest of the tournament.”

Read his full comments here

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Double up!

16:05 , Matt Verri

Iran players refuse to sing anthem

15:57 , Matt Verri

Iran’s players did not sing the national anthem ahead of the match, while sections of their supporters booed.

The actions come in the wake of ongoing unrest in Iran, with the death of Mahsa Amini sparking widespread protests in September.

The 22-year-old died in custody having been detained for allegedly failing to follow the country’s Islamic dress code.

Iran Human Rights claimed this weekend that at least 378 people have been killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests, with over 40 allegedly killed by state security forces in the last week alone.

Read more on that here

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Heartwarming reason behind Grealish celebration

15:50 , Matt Verri

Jack Grealish fulfilled his promise to a young Manchester City fan with cerebral palsy by celebrating his goal for England against Iran at the World Cup by dancing.

Earlier this season, Grealish received a letter from Finlay, who suffers with cerebral palsy and is a huge City fan. Finlay wrote to Grealish explaining how the midfielder is his favourite player for his actions on and off the pitch.

Grealish’s sister, Holly, has cerebral palsy and Finlay loves the way the City midfielder involves her in everything he does.

The England star then surprised the youngster at the City Football Academy, where Finlay plays every Monday as part of the disability football team. Upon meeting, the pair hugged and Finlay asked Grealish if he would celebrate his next goal by doing ‘the worm’.

Grealish said he couldn’t do that, joking he can’t even do it and he could get injured, but the midfielder did promise to dance.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Reaction from Southgate

15:42 , Matt Verri

“I’m a bit fed up with the end of it, really! To win by that margin, to play as we did for the majority of the game, we’ve got to be really happy. We looked ready. The players dealt with the game really well.

“Our press was really good, our movement was really good. I’ve got to be really happy. But we shouldn’t be conceding two goals at that stage of the game.

“We’ll have to be right on our game against the States. It’s a great start, but we’ll have to be better. We lost concentration and when we play at a slower tempo, we’re not anywhere near as effective.

“I’m a miserable so-and-so, I should be more excited! But I have to keep the team on the right track and we will have to be better.”

Dan Kilpatrick at the Khalifa International Stadium

15:36 , Matt Verri

Thought England combined familiar qualities - set pieces, quick transitions, Kane-Sterling linkup - with a newfound slickness on ball thanks to Bellingham, really.

And five different scorers but not Kane, despite pre-tournament suggestions of being too reliant on him.

Concern for Maguire

15:32 , Matt Verri

England have injury concerns over Harry Maguire after he was forced off during the second half of their World Cup opener against Iran with a head injury.

Maguire answered his critics with a solid performance after Gareth Southgate stuck with the Manchester United defender despite him being badly out of form.

But striker Mehdi Taremi got the better of Maguire when he scored a consolation goal for Iran and the England centre-back suffered a blow to his head in the incident.

Maguire then appeared to receive a concussion check from England medical staff as he was given treatment on the pitch before he was substituted.

Read the full story on that here

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Saka’s post-match reaction

15:28 , Matt Verri

“I can’t describe the feeling, it is amazing. I am so happy and so proud. We got the win as well so it is a really special day.

“We needed that good start. We haven’t played the best coming into the tournament. There was a lot of talk and speculation about our form but we showed everyone how much quality we have and what we can do.

“It is amazing to get the win under so much pressure. But we have to be consistent because we have the next game coming up in a few days and we have to win again.”

Player ratings

15:21 , Matt Verri

Jude Bellingham - 8

The 19-year-old became the first teenager to start a World Cup match for England since 2014 and the third youngest to start in the competition for his country.

His rash challenge gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area on the 22-minute mark in a nervy-looking opening. But his class told when he surged into the box to meet Shaw’s cross with a perfect cushioned and looping header.

Read our full England player ratings here

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

How England made it six...

15:17 , Matt Verri

FT: England 6-2 Iran

15:15 , Matt Verri

That was the final kick of a crazy match.

England absolutely sensational for much of it, Bellingham and Saka were superb. It’s the perfect start for Southgate and his players to their World Cup campaign.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

GOAL! England 6-2 Iran | Mehdi Taremi 90+13'

15:12 , Matt Verri

And he scores!

In the 103rd minute of the match, it’s an eighth goal. Taremi took an age to start his run up, eventually rolls it into the bottom corner as Pickford dives the other way.


15:11 , Matt Verri

And it will be a penalty for Iran!

Bizarre decision. Taremi stepping up to take it.

15:11 , Matt Verri

90+11 mins: We’ve now played 100 mins, and there’s a VAR review for an Iran penalty! This match is never going to finish.

Stones with a slight shirt pull, nothing compared to when Maguire was wrestled to the ground in the first-half. Not really sure why this is getting so much attention.

Stiff competition...

15:09 , Matt Verri

15:08 , Matt Verri

90+8 mins: This match has been pure chaos.

Azmoun clean through for Iran, Pickford with a stunning save to tip it onto the bar. Shame it really means nothing, deserves more attention!

15:05 , Matt Verri

90+5 mins: “Southgate you’re the one” being sung around the stadium. The good feeling is back!

The USA and Wales to come for England, safe to say they’ll be going into those matches with confidence high. Very high.

15:02 , Matt Verri

90+2 mins: There are ten minutes added on! No mercy for Iran.

England can enjoy every second of stoppage-time, as they pass the ball around in midfield. Looks like they might be happy to settle for six.

GOAL! England 6-1 Iran | Jack Grealish 89'

14:59 , Matt Verri


Bellingham with a brilliant ball through to Wilson and he’s clean through on goal. So unselfish though, rolls it to Grealish instead and he has the simplest of finishes.

What a start to the World Cup for England!

14:58 , Matt Verri

88 mins: Iran seem to be pressing more now than they have at any point in the match.

Suits England though, plenty of space out there. Grealish drifting around and getting fouled, as ever.

14:54 , Matt Verri

84 mins: Rashford has been really impressive since coming on, so sharp. This time the shot is blocked as the bodies come flying in. Foden tries to scoop the ball through to Wilson, it’s turned behind for a corner.

Shaw swings it in, Wilson and Stones go up at the back post but a free-kick to Iran is given.

14:52 , Matt Verri

82 mins: Long stoppage for an injury, which Grealish isn’t thrilled about. He wants the chance to make an impact.

Bellingham with a loose pass as he tries to pick out Trippier - think that’s his first of the match.

14:46 , Matt Verri

77 mins: Wilson will get his moment, as Kane is brought off. Newcastle man will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet here.

Taremi is in behind Dier, lashes the shot wide though. Sliced that one, rather than the clean connection we saw for the goal.

14:44 , Matt Verri

74 mins: Well Iran had a good couple of minutes, but it’s back to as we were now. And there a few England players out there desperate to make an impression.

Bellingham brought down with a very ugly challenge - he’s so quick to pounce on any sort of heavy touch.

GOAL! England 5-1 Iran | Marcus Rashford 71'

14:41 , Matt Verri


That’s absolutely brilliant. In space inside the box, chops inside onto his left foot and just rolls it into the bottom corner. So composed, his first touches after coming on. Decent impact.

14:40 , Matt Verri

70 mins: England down to ten for now, despite the subs waiting on the touchline. Ball went out but the fourth official clearly wasn’t ready.

Iran starting to enjoy themselves a bit, first shot is blocked and then blazed over the bar. Pickford furious with the referee that his side can’t make the changes.

Now here they come. Dier, Rashford, Grealish and Foden on. Maguire, Saka, Sterling and Mount the four to make way.

14:37 , Matt Verri

68 mins: England were planning some changes before that goal, and they’re going to make them. Wilson was going to come on, but that’s been changed as Maguire is done after taking a blow to the head.

He doesn’t look too well, so he’ll be coming off. Dier coming on in his place. Foden and Rashford also set to come on.

GOAL! England 4-1 Iran | Mehdi Taremi 65'

14:35 , Matt Verri

Iran get a goal back!

One down, three to go. Slid through to Taremi, runs in behind Maguire and he slams the finish past Pickford and off the underside of the bar. Wonderful strike.

GOAL! England 4-0 Iran | Bukayo Saka 62'

14:32 , Matt Verri


Sensational from the Arsenal man. Sterling feeds it to him and he drives into the box on his left foot. Takes his time, shifts it inside and fires it low into the back of the net, with the help of a slight deflection.

14:31 , Matt Verri

61 mins: Ezatolahi picks the ball up 35 yards out, brings it forward and decides he’ll try his luck. Would be wise not to do that again, dragged wide and just about has enough power on it to trickle behind for a goal-kick.

14:28 , Matt Verri

59 mins: Lots of space out there for England, just need to get the final ball right and there will be more goals.

Saka inside to Sterling, he tries to find Mount to his left but it’s cut out. Still no sign of any changes from Southgate, as we enter the final 30 minutes.

14:26 , Matt Verri

56 mins: Lovely one-two between Kane and Sterling, the Chelsea forward briefly looks to be in on goal.

Tries to cut inside onto his right foot, Hosseini gets across to cover though and Iran survive. Guess what? England corner.

Shaw with the out-swinger... Mount penalised for jumping over his man. Bit harsh.

14:24 , Matt Verri

54 mins: Brilliant from Bellingham... again. Skips to the byline, so strong and he cuts it back into the box. Turned behind for a corner.

Trippier in, palmed up from than out by the goalkeeper. Rice looks to drill it back into the box, it will be another England corner.

14:21 , Matt Verri

52 mins: Trippier the latest to get caught with a late challenge, Maguire kicks it out with the right-back staying down.

Only concern now for England is injuries, with Iran evidently in a frustrated mood. Might encourage Southgate to make a couple of changes sooner than he originally planned.

14:20 , Matt Verri

51 mins: Painful one for the England captain, ankle rolled as the Iran player slid in. Back up on his feet now, looks to be moving fine.

Back to the free-kick, Trippier standing over it. Hammered straight into the wall. Dreadful.

14:18 , Matt Verri

49 mins: Yellow card is out, Kane brought down just over 20 yards out. Pouraliganji with a poor challenge, Kane down holding his ankle.

Physio is on - this is really not what England need.

14:16 , Matt Verri

47 mins: Pickford very casual on the ball, his kick is almost charged down. First thing he’s had to do really.

Iran have already had a few passes since the restart, feels like more than they managed in the entire first 45 minutes. Or rather 59 minutes.

Back underway!

14:14 , Matt Verri

Up and running again for the second-half. No changes at the break from England, three from Iran.

Imagine it will very much be damage limitation for them from this point onwards, although that was sort of the gameplan from the start.

Dan Kilpatrick at the Khalifa International Stadium

14:09 , Matt Verri

As routine a first half as England could have hoped for really, and with the game all but sewn up Gareth Southgate can already start looking towards Friday’s second group game against the US.

England on fire!

14:05 , Matt Verri

Nizaar Kinsella at the Khalifa International Stadium

14:03 , Matt Verri

That was a perfect half from England who completely controlled the match and got the goals to show for it. Jude Bellingham announces himself on the biggest stage, Harry Maguire and Raheem Sterling prove their doubters wrong and three stunning goals.

Gareth Southgate comes out well with his two number eights wreaking havoc from midfielder when many predicted he might play a back three and two no6s instead.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

HT: England 3-0 Iran

14:00 , Matt Verri

And, finally, that is half-time.

About as good as it could have been for England. Bellingham, Saka and Sterling with the goals as the Three Lions ran riot, before easing off towards the end of the half.

They can do whatever they want after the break!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

13:58 , Matt Verri

45+13 mins: Mount fouled twice in a matter of seconds. Latest one is about 35 yards out, surely too far for a shot. Shaw and Mount the two standing over it as the centre-backs come up.

Deep ball is kept alive by Stones, England content to just keep it at the back.

13:56 , Matt Verri

45+11 mins: Iran’s first chance of the match, comes after an awful pass from Trippier.

Cross into the box, floated to Jahanbakhsh who is completely free at the back post. Volleys it over the bar - decent opportunity that.

13:54 , Matt Verri

45+9 mins: Iran can’t keep the ball for more than a few seconds, they’re having a miserable time of it. England playera meanwhile are floating around the pitch, everyone wants a touch.

Nine added minutes done, five to go!

13:51 , Matt Verri

45+6 mins: Bellingham charges after a red shirt and wins the ball back immediately, he’s been absolutely sensational.

Strange build-up to this match but England have been brilliant on the pitch. They’re playing at walking pace now, Iran sitting off trying to avoid any further damage.

Dan Kilpatrick at the Khalifa International Stadium

13:48 , Matt Verri

All of Gareth Southgate’s big selection calls for this game - Saka, Sterling, Bellingham, Maguire - have been fully vindicated inside 45 minutes here. A statement half from England.

13:48 , Matt Verri

45+3 mins: Just the 14 minutes added on. Yes, 14.

Bellingham shapes to go for goal from distance, chops inside instead but is then shut down by four red shirts. Iran desperately wanting half-time now but it’s a long way away.

GOAL! England 3-0 Iran | Raheem Sterling 45+1

13:46 , Matt Verri


Sensational from the Three Lions! Bellingham slides it through to Kane, does well to do so as he’s tripped very cynically.

The England captain slows it up, but then fires it into the box and Sterling volleys home at the near post.

GOAL! England 2-0 Iran | Bukayo Saka 42'

13:43 , Matt Verri


England in complete control now. Corner swung in deep, Maguire knocks it down at the back post and Saka lashes it into the top corner. The lead is doubled!

13:40 , Matt Verri

40 mins: Pickford with a brilliant pass out to Trippier, he looks to do the same through to Kane but too much on it.

Iran with a rare chance to break, worked down the right. Low cross into the box, Rice gets back to poke it away and England reclaim possession.

13:36 , Matt Verri

37 mins: England flying now, Kane should really slide Mount in but the pass is too heavy and runs out of play. That was a real chance to create something dangerous.

Will Iran start to show a bit more ambition now? Wouldn’t count on it.

GOAL! England 1-0 Iran | Jude Bellingham 35'

13:35 , Matt Verri


It’s been coming! England pressure has been building and they finally make it pay.

Worked nicely down the left, whipped in from Shaw and Bellingham guides the header into the top corner.

13:32 , Matt Verri

32 mins: Bellingham with a loose touch on the edge of his box, did he foul his man trying to win it back? Refere sprints over with the whistle in his mouth... and does nothing.

England break, Kane heads it back across the face of goal but there’s nobody there. Sterling then produces a lovely nutmeg, wins a corner for the Three Lions. Trippier to take.

Great ball in again, Maguire thunders the header against the bar! Iran survive.

13:29 , Matt Verri

29 mins: Saka the latest to get taken out from behind, Southgate not a happy man on the touchline as the foul count continues to grow. Iran fortunate they’ve only had one yellow card.

The Arsenal man looks threatening out on the right, he cuts it back from the byline to Mount and he fires into the side-netting. First real chance for England.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

13:27 , Matt Verri

27 mins: Mount wide to Saka, he cuts inside onto his left foot.

Not sure if it’s an attempted cross or a shot, but either way it’s weak and straight at the goalkeeper. For the sake of our excitement we’ll call it a shot on target.

13:25 , Matt Verri

25 mins: Jahanbakhsh catches Shaw with a late challenge, nasty one from the winger. He earns himself a yellow card.

Iran are lucky there isn’t another card as Mount drifts past his man and is clipped, they’re doing their best to frustrate England here.

Dan Kilpatrick at the Khalifa International Stadium

13:23 , Matt Verri

Iran finally replace goalkeeper Beiranvand, whose nose looks thoroughly broken. That’s an early blow for the underdogs but the question is how both teams will respond to a length delay of more than 10 minutes. I

It was just as England were getting going, too.

13:22 , Matt Verri

22 mins: Comes to nothing, Saka is able to then complete the job as he brings it forward on the right.

England yet to really get going since that delay, probably to be expected.

13:21 , Matt Verri

21 mins: Mohammadi to take the throw-in - he is the man who went for that forward roll attempt four years ago. Opts for a more traditional approach this time.

Bellingham with a cheap foul and Iran have a good chance to whip something into the box here.

13:19 , Matt Verri

19 mins: Ten minutes after the clash of heads, Hosseini is on. Devastating for Beiranvand, but the decision to come off needed to be made for him.

There’s going to be a lot of time added on at the end of this half - we’ve only had about eight minutes of football!

13:17 , Matt Verri

17 mins: Oh, and Beiranvand is back lying down and signalling to the bench that he needs to come off.

This is a complete shambles, no way he should have been allowed to continue. On comes the stretcher, so we’ll have another delay.

13:16 , Matt Verri

16 mins: Well after a delay of about eight minutes, Beiranvand is going to carry on. Madness. Doesn’t look well at all.

We’re back underway, England in possession. Pattern of the match swiftly resumed.

13:14 , Matt Verri

14 mins: Beiranvand back up and on his feet, looking extremely groggy. Walks back towards his goal - surely isn’t carrying on. Hosseini is on the touchline ready to come on in his place.

Deary me, he’s going to carry on. Beiranvand changes his shirt and he’ll stay on the pitch, really poor from the medical staff.

13:11 , Matt Verri

11 mins: Southgate giving some instructions to his players, during this lengthy delay.

Beiranvand looks in a fair bit of trouble, not sure the goalkeeper is going to be able to continue. Huge blow for Iran if that’s the case.

Nizaar Kinsella at Khalifa International Stadium

13:09 , Matt Verri

Harry Maguire and John Stones both blocked off inside the area and dragged to the ground by their markers.

No penalty is given but Maguire and Gareth Southgate are up in arms. It follows FIFA referees presenting to players on Wednesday about blocking incidents at set-pieces to clampdown on those actions.

13:08 , Matt Verri

8 mins: Saka fouled twice, tries to keep his balance but eventually his progress is halted. Pulled back for a free-kick.

Up come Maguire and Stones again - referee might want to have a look at the wrestling going on this time. It’s slid through to Kane instead, he puts a great ball in. Maguire can’t quite turn it in att he back post.

Really nasty clash of heads between Beiranvand and Hosseini, they’ll need some treatment.

13:06 , Matt Verri

6 mins: Iran yet to have a touch, beyond their goalkeeper booting it straight out of play.

Sterling drops into midfield to get a touch of the ball, think that might be his first of the match, before Saka does the same. Mount plays it wide to Shaw, cross whipped in but it’s a bit too deep.

13:03 , Matt Verri

3 mins: Great ball in from Trippier, half-cleared away. Shaw then looks to find Mount and wins an early corner for England.

It’s Trippier to take, Maguire goes down screaming for a penalty. Nothing given - some very questionable defending going on. He was rugby tackled. VAR not interested either.

13:02 , Matt Verri

2 mins: No surprise that England are seeing all of the ball in the opening minutes, Iran sitting right off when Stones and Maguire have it.

England have to move the ball quickly, will be easy for them to just coast and knock the ball around comfortably with no pressure on them.


13:00 , Matt Verri

England players take the knee ahead of kick-off, and we are underway.

Let the fun begin.

12:56 , Matt Verri

At least a few of the players remembered it’s now God Save The King. We’re off to a flying start.

Anthems done - we’re ready to get up and running!

Here we go!

12:53 , Matt Verri

Teams are in the tunnel - kick-off coming up very shortly.

Been a strange build-up to the tournament, and indeed this match, but England are about to get their World Cup campaign up and running. Time for the focus to turn to the pitch.

Ticketing problem at stadium

12:48 , Matt Verri

Huge number of empty seats in the stadium, reports that many have been waiting outside for more than two hours due to ticketing problems. Fifa have issued some guidance on the situation.

“Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA Ticketing app,” a statement reads.

“FIFA is working on solving the issue. In the meantime, fans who are not able to access their mobile tickets should check the email accounts they used to register with the Ticketing app for further instructions.

“In case fans cannot access their email accounts, the stadium’s Ticket Resolution Point will be able to support. We thank fans for their understanding as we work to fix the issue as soon as possible.”

Scott wears One Love armband

12:46 , Matt Verri

Harry Kane will not be wearing the ‘One Love’ armband for the match, but Alex Scott is doing just that on pitchside.

Working as a pundit for BBC Sport, the former England and Arsenal defender is showing her support by wearing it, after Fifa threats resulted in the Three Lions and a number of other countries shelving their plans to do so.


A look inside the stadium

12:41 , Matt Verri

How the 2022 World Cup began...

12:37 , Matt Verri

Twelve years and infinite controversies later, yet somehow still a day earlier than planned, this World Cup is finally underway.

It began, in truth, with a bit of a whimper, the host national outplayed by an Ecuador side who seemed to shake hands at 2-0 as the Al Bayt Stadium emptied from the half-time whistle onwards.

There has never been a World Cup at which the success or failure of the home team matters less, but even so, becoming the first hosts in 92 years to lose the opening game, and doing so in front of thousands upon thousands of empty seats, was hardly an encouraging start.

Read our full piece on a strange opening night here

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Southgate: We want to be positive

12:32 , Matt Verri

Gareth Southgate has been speaking ahead of kick-off, insisting England want to go out there this afternoon and put Iran under pressure from the off.

“We’ve spent the first part of the week exciting people about being involved in the World Cup, and the latter part, since we got here, on the training pitch,” Southgate told BBC Sport.

“And I’m really pleased with the way the players have approached everything. We feel this is a strong team, a strong way to start, and great depth to come in.

“We want to be positive and play on the front foot.”

Nizaar Kinsella at the Khalifa International Stadium

12:26 , Matt Verri

England have been cheered onto the pitch - Harry Kane led the team out and will wear FIFA’s anti-discrimination armband.

Dan Kilpatrick’s pre-match thoughts...

12:23 , Matt Verri

Nizaar Kinsella at the Khalifa International Stadium

12:18 , Matt Verri

The atmosphere is a bit strange with very few supporters in the stadium or on the concourses an hour before kick-off.

The music is loud and drowning out any noise the fans filtering in can make but there are flags draped across the England end. Iran supporters were far more visible and noisy entering the arena ahead of kick-off.

The Khalifa International Stadium looks somewhat similar to Marseille’s Stade Velodrome.

England will take the knee

12:13 , Matt Verri

England’s players have decided to resume taking the knee at the World Cup in Qatar, with manager Gareth Southgate saying the gesture will send a “strong statement” to the watching world.

The England team took the knee in 33 straight internationals after football returned following the Covid pandemic but did not do so ahead of the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany in September.

However, speaking ahead of Monday’s World Cup opener against Iran, Southgate said: “We have discussed taking the knee.

“It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.”

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Long-throw threat...

12:08 , Matt Verri

England need to be very careful this afternoon, with Mohammadi starting for Iran.

As we found out four years ago, he poses a real threat with his long throws... or at least that was the plan. Rory Delap he is not.

Pure box-office.

Iran team news

12:02 , Matt Verri

Iran XI: Beiranvand, Moharrami, Hajsafi, Mohammadi, Jahanbakhsh, Pouraliganji, Taremi, Cheshmi, Karimi, Hosseini, Nourollahi

England as expected

11:59 , Matt Verri

No surprises in that lineup from Gareth Southgate, who opts for a back four. Maguire partners Stones, with Trippier getting the nod over Alexander-Arnold at right-back.

Mount starts at No10, ahead of Bellingham and Rice, while the England boss sticks with Sterling despite questions over his club form. It’s Saka on the opposite flank, with Kane, Golden Boot winner four years ago, through the middle.

There are 14 players on the bench - the injured James Maddison the only one to miss out.

England team news

11:55 , Matt Verri

England XI: Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Bellingham, Mount, Saka, Sterling

Nizaar Kinsella on the ‘OneLove’ armband situation

11:48 , Matt Verri

England players out on the pitch

11:43 , Matt Verri

The Three Lions have arrived at the stadium and have been enjoying an early look at the pitch.

Won’t be too keen to spend more time than they need to in the heat...


Pickford bullish on England’s chances

11:37 , Matt Verri

Jordan Pickford believes England have what it takes to go all the way in Qatar.

The Three Lions reached the semi-finals four years ago before losing in the final to Italy at last summer’s Euros, experiences the England goalkeeper hopes leaves the team well-placed to make that final step.

“We know how tough it is to win the World Cup but our main aim is to win the tournament,” Pickford said. “We’ve got the ability and mental strength in the team.

“It’s what football is all about: winning. That is what we are in the tournament to do.

“The last two tournaments we didn’t get over the finish line but we’ve made massive strides as a nation and as a group of players.”

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Atmosphere building...

11:28 , Matt Verri

About 90 minutes to go until the first match of the day gets underway.

USA vs Wales takes place this evening, in the other game in Group B. England know getting off to good start here is crucial - won’t want to go into that final group-stage match against Wales with everything on the line.

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