18 amazing stats from England’s opening World Cup victory: Saka…

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Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring during the during the FIFA World Cup match between England and Iran at Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar, November 2022.

England opened their 2022 World Cup campaign with an emphatic 6-2 victory over Iran & we’ve collected some of the most jaw-dropping stats from the game.

The Three Lions entered the game under a wave of controversy over their decision to stop wearing the ‘One Love’ armband after FIFA threatened to caution Harry Kane.

In a statement alongside Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales, the FA expressed dismay at FIFA’s behaviour.

“Fifa has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” they said.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in Fifa World Cup games.

“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in a situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”

But Gareth Southgate’s side took their frustrations out on Iran with an avalanche of first-half goals.

Jude Bellingham opened the scoring with a glanced header before Bukayo Saka doubled England’s tally with a decisive shot from the edge of the penalty area.

England went into the break 3-0 ahead following a gorgeous volley from Raheem Sterling before Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish scored in the second-half.

Despite the emphatic nature of the victory, England will be slightly disappointed that they failed to keep a clean-sheet; Porto’s Mehdi Taremi scored a brace for Iran in the second-half.

We’ve taken the pleasure of compiling the best stats from England’s decisive victory over their Group B rivals.

– England came into the match on the back of a six-game winless run (D3 L3); their longest-ever winless run going into a major tournament.

– Southgate’s line-up showed five changes to the XI that faced Tunisia in their opening game in 2018 with Luke Shaw, Declan Rice, Bellingham, Mason Mount and Saka replacing Kyle Walker, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli & Ashley Young.

– Born in 2003, Jude Bellingham is the first player born in the 2000s to score at the World Cup finals.

– Bellingham became the first player younger than GTA: Vice City to score a World Cup goal.

– And the Borussia Dortmund midfielder became just the second teenager to score for England at a World Cup and the first since Michael Owen scored against Romania and Argentina in 1998.

– Saka notched the second with a brilliant strike, becoming the first Arsenal player to score for England at the World Cup since Sol Campbell struck against Sweden in 2002.

– With those two efforts, England had two players aged 21 or under both score in a single World Cup game for the first time in their history.

– Raheem Sterling scored his first goal at the World Cup finals after failing to strike at Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018.

– England scored more than three goals in their opening World Cup match for the first time since 1954 when they drew 4-4 with Belgium.

– The much-maligned Harry Maguire enjoyed a storming first half, causing chaos from attacking set-pieces. Maguire won all of his ground and aerial duels in the opening 45 minutes while completing an impressive eight long passes.

– England completed 366 passes in the first half, the second most by a team in the first half of a World Cup game since 1966, after Spain vs Russia in 2018 (395)

– Both Bellingham and John Stones didn’t misplace a single pass during the opening half against Iran.

– While Stones (70), Maguire (51) & Rice (51) each completed more passes than the entire Iran XI combined (46).

– Saka doubled his own personal tally with a lovely finish in the second-half. He already has scored more World Cup goals than both Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes, who each scored just once in the world’s biggest sporting event.

– Rashford came off the bench to score his first tournament inside three touches of the ball. Clinical.

– It was the second World Cup that England have scored six in a single match; they beat Panama 6-1 in 2018.

– England inflicted upon Iran their joint-heaviest World Cup defeat, equalling their 4-1 thrashing by Peru in 1978.


READ MORE: Revisiting talkSPORT’s ‘England’s 2022 World Cup XI’ from 2017

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every England player to score at a tournament since 1990?