0221 GMT December 01, 2022
Iran fell to a dreadful start to its Group B campaign at the 2022 World Cup, suffering a 6-2 rout by England in Al Rayyn, Qatar.
Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham broke the deadlock for the European heavyweights with a looping header in the 35th minute, before Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling added two in the space of three minutes to steer Gareth Southgate’s side to commanding lead at the break.
Saka bagged his second when his left-footed effort from inside the box took a slight deflection off Morteza Pouraliganji and went into the bottom corner in the 62nd minute.
Prolific striker Mehdi Taremi pulled one back for Iran three minutes later, lashing the ball past English keeper Jordan Pickford into the roof of the net.
Just when Iran looked to be gearing up for an unlikely fightback with 20 minutes left on the clock, substitute Marcus Rashford found his way into the box before stroking a shot across Hossein Hosseini, who replaced injured keeper Alireza Beiranvand midway through the first half.
Substitute duo Callum Wilson and Jack Grealish combined for England’s six when the clock turned to 90 minutes, as the former dribbled down the right and teed up Manchester City winger, whose elegant touch found the empty net.
There was a late consolation for Iran – thanks to a VAR review – when the referee penalized John Stones for pulling Pouraliganji’s shirt in the box on an Ehsan Hajsafi’s set-piece.
Taremi wrongfooted Pickford from the spot to become the first Iranian to have scored more than one goal in the history of the World Cup, but it was too little too late as Iran will now be looking to bounce back from the debacle against Wales on Friday.