Faced with the Iranians who quickly had to do without their titular goalkeeper, hit in the face, the English took over thanks to goals from their young nuggets Jude Bellingham, 19 (35th) and Bukayo Saka, 21 (43rd, 62nd ), and the more experienced Raheem Sterling, (45+1), Marcus Rashford (71st) and Jack Grealish (90th). Iran reduced the score thanks to a double from Mehdi Taremi (65th, 90 + 13 sp)
In the aftermath of Qatar’s inaugural defeat against Ecuador (2-0), all eyes were on this meeting to watch for a gesture of support from Iranian players for the demonstrators harshly repressed in their country since the death of the young Mahsa Ami, 22 years old.
– Iranians silent during the anthem –
The gesture took place when the eleven players of the “Team Melli“refrained from singing their national anthem. No song in tribute to the young woman was however launched in the stands in the 22nd minute, in reference to her age.
On the English side, captain Harry Kane had to give up wearing the inclusive colored armband “One Love“, the seven federations which intended to do so having backtracked on Monday, faced with the threat of sports sanctions from Fifa. The English, however, knelt down as they usually do to denounce all forms of discrimination .
On the pitch, the start of the match was marked by an interruption of more than ten minutes after a violent clash between Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand and his defender Majid Hosseini (9th). Hit in the nose, he finally had to give way to Hossein Hosseini in the 20th minute.
The latter lived through a nightmarish eighth selection against the English onslaught. If a first uncrossed header from Harry Maguire hit the crossbar (32nd), that of Jude Bellingham, after a center from Luke Shaw, ended up in the back of the net (35th, 1-0).
At 19 years and 145 days, Bellingham became according to the statistician Opta the youngest Englishman to score in the World Cup after Michael Owen in 1998 (18 years and 190 days).
– Doubled by Saka –
Arsenal attacking midfielder Bukayo Saka doubled the lead with a superb shot from the left under the bar (43rd, 2-0), after a discount from Maguire.
Then, Sterling (80 caps), who had not scored at the World Cup in Russia, opened his counter in his first match in this edition, taking over a cross from Harry Kane (45 + 1, 3-0).
In the second half, Saka offered himself a double after a good number in the area (62nd, 4-0). Incoming Marcus Rashford, launched by Kane (72nd, 5-1), then Jack Grealish (90th, 6-1) also scored.
Iran saved the honor thanks to a double from Taremi, already very good with Porto at the start of the season and author of a goal in the 65th, then a penalty at the very end of added time.
The United States are waiting for the English on Friday, before neighboring Welsh on the 29th. The Iranians will try to revive against these same Welsh, before the revenge of the historic match of the 1998 World Cup against the Americans (Iranian victory 2-1).