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England thrash Iran 6-2 for blistering World Cup start

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DOHA, QATAR: Marcus Rashford (11) of England celebrates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and Iran at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar on November 21, 2022. (Erçin Ertürk - Anadolu Agency)
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Nov 22, 2022 - 12:50 AM

ANKARA (AA) – A rampant England hammered Iran 6-2 on Monday to make a flying start to their World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Young guns Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham were instrumental in the Three Lions’ commanding performance at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham, 19, opened the scoring with a sharp header in the 35th minute.

Saka doubled the advantage in the 43rd minute, firing in a left-footed volley after Harry Maguire nodded down a corner from Luke Shaw.

Raheem Sterling scored in stoppage time to send Gareth Southgate’s team into the break with a massive lead.

Saka, 21, was again on the scoresheet just after the hour mark.

This time the Arsenal forward dribbled into the Iranian penalty area and finished off with a low left-footed strike.

Iran pulled one back just minutes later as striker Mehdi Taremi latched onto a clever pass to blast in a powerful shot past Jordan Pickford.

Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish scored in the 71st and 89th minutes to put England 6-1 up, before Taremi converted a stoppage-time penalty for Iran’s second of the game.

Apart from the devastating score line, Iran also suffered the loss of first-choice goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.

The 30-year-old was subbed off after a nasty clash of heads left him bloodied, a stoppage that led to a record 14 minutes being added on in the first period.

England now sit comfortable at the top of Group B with a healthy goal difference.

The day’s other Group B fixture will see the US face Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium at 1900 GMT.

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