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World Cup Agent Match Report: England hit six amid FIFA own goals

There was plenty of upset off the pitch after the Football Association’s last-minute u-turn – in fear of FIFA sanctions - meant England’s players couldn’t stand up for LGBT rights in Qatar with a one love armband, but the team didn’t disappoint when it came to the beautiful game.

Our team of estate agent reporters give their view on matchday one for England below.

‘Couldn’t have gone much better’
Stuart Robinson, director of Zoom Estate Agents


After what’s been a controversial build-up, we’ve finally got on with the football. 

On day two of the tournament, it was time for England to take centre stage and take on Iran in their first group game at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Coming into the tournament, Gareth Southgate was already scrutinised for his selections and potential lineups. 

With what is quite an easy group, many fans wanted Southgate to move away from his trusted five at the back and field a more attacking team. That’s what we’ve gotten so far, as England blew away Iran in a match that was one sided from the get go, despite the occasional counter attack.

England lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with one more body in midfield than normal. In truth, the game was won and dominated in midfield. 

Iran couldn’t keep the ball and England, led by the highly impressive Jude Bellingham, dominated midfield. This enabled them to regularly feed the influential Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka, who didn’t stop running at and tormenting their full back counterparts.

The opening goal came after several early stoppages, when Jude Bellingham rose above the Iranian defence and headed in from Luke Shaw’s whipped cross. At 19 years old, it looked like it was his fifth world cup, not his first. 

A Saka screamer made it 2-0 and shortly after, Raheem Sterling volleyed in from an unusually quiet, Harry Kane’s cross. 3-0 at half time, England were cruising.

Saka continued his impressive Arsenal and now England form, he shimmied and fainted past three defenders before side footing it home to make it 4-0. That was the end of his afternoon, with Southgate re-energising the team with four substitutions. 

One of those substitutes was Marcus Rashford, who impacted the game instantly with a well taken, composed finish to extend the lead back to four goals after Taremi had pulled one back with a fantastic finish. 

Quick shoutout to Harry Maguire who despite some heavy criticism and lack of game time for his club, played excellently. Let’s hope the injury that forced him off is not too serious and that he’s fit for the next game.

Jack Grealish made it 6-1 with a cool tap in after Callum Wilson unselfishly squared it back to Grealish. Iran were gifted a generous penalty in the final seconds of the game as another consultation, despite our penalty shout in the opening minutes avoiding a VAR check. 6-2 was the final score and England cruised to a first win and sent a statement to potential competitors.

As first games go, that couldn’t have gone much better. Maybe we could’ve kept a clean sheet to further boost confidence. 

Other than that, things went smoothly. Any rust and nerves went out the window and England are now in a solid position moving into the next group games. 

A team full of confidence and with many contributors, England aren’t relying on one man to lead us to glory. After all, Harry Kane didn’t even score! Not to take anything away from his overall play and couple of assists.

As far as standouts go, it’s hard to look past the young lions, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka. Jude dominated the midfield with his box-to-box profile and Bukayo terrorised the Iran defence. 

As long as Southgate continues to trust in those playing well, playing attacking football, England can go far in the tournament. It’s hard to not get carried away but we must remember that we were expected to beat Iran. The good signs are the strong mentality, patience in looking to score, ruthlessness in front of goal and contributors on the pitch and off the bench.

With a bench boasting the attacking talents of Rashford, Grealish, Foden, James and more, it’s an encouraging start for England. Now, it’s onwards and upwards for Southgate’s men who can watch Wales vs USA ahead of their next game against the USA on Friday night.

So, as the drama persists off the pitch, on the pitch, the football has got going. 

Some suspect VAR decisions yes, but at least we’re now fully underway for a month of football entertainment.

How far can England go? Can they go one better than what they achieved at the Euros? Let’s wait and see. One thing’s for certain, that was a brilliant performance to start England’s journey in Qatar.

Bring on the US!

Like estate agency, you only need a lead to create a string of success’

Rob Sabin, director of Miles & Barr

And so, it begins. England’s 2022 Qatar World Cup campaign commenced against Iran, who on paper are the weaker of the two sides. It was well predicted that England, who’s squad is bolstered with world class talent, would breeze past Iran and though it is never as straight forward as this in the beautiful game of football, oh how right those predictions were. 

Iran came into this tournament on good form and were hoping to cause an upset, but England’s dominant start to the game inspired a sublime performance from the Three Lions. 

Gareth Southgate chose a slightly more attacking squad, which was noticeable from the first minute with the England team playing with both great intensity and drive. Shortly after the game began, the first real talking point materialised with the Iranian goalkeeper clashing heads with his own defender, later leading to him being substituted due to a suspected concussion – we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.

Despite England’s rampant pressure, some early exchanges struck some doubt into England’s gameplan, with Iran’s back five managing the press effectively. This was until teenage sensation, Jude Bellingham rose magnificently to glance a header into the top right corner of Iran’s goal from a well-aimed Luke Shaw cross to break the deadlock in the 35th minute.

Just like in the world of estate agency, sometimes you only need a lead to create a string of success, and this was just the case for England. Bellingham’s goal installed a boost of confidence into the already slick looking England team, with both Saka and Sterling getting their names on the scoresheet before the break providing England with a three-goal cushion. 

Sometimes a break in play can provide the losing side an opportunity to get back in the game with hope that the winning team lose their rhythm, but England came back out hungry for more. 

It wasn’t long before the ball was in the back of Iran’s net again with Saka weaving his way through challenges inside the box, remaining patient, knowing that his time to strike would come and with a sharp turn of pace he did just that passing the ball into the lower left of the goal. But celebrations were cut short this time, with Iran heading up the other end and scoring their first goal through a ferocious strike from Taremi which sailed past Pickford and into the roof of the net. Game on?

The goal from Iran did little to affect the play of the game. With under 20 minutes of normal time left to play, Southgate decided it was time to make some switches, with Rashford replacing the game’s golden boy Saka. Rashford hit target as soon as he stepped on the pitch, as taking his first touch controlled the ball inside the box and his second took the ball past the Iran keeper…. sensational. 

A late goal from Grealish ensured England fans were going home with smiles on their faces, despite a late VAR call to award Iran a penalty which was converted to make the final score 6-2. 

It’s not everyday you witness England slot six past a side and play out a game with such swagger and dominance, so to do so on the biggest stage of all in their opening game was a promising sign of things to come. 

Did their poor form coming into the tournament help lower expectations and therefore give the players a sense of freedom? Will they continue to play at this level in their remaining group games? Is it coming home? Only time will tell, but for now England look forward with great excitement to Friday where they clash with the USA, hoping for a similar result. 


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