At the World Cup 2022, England will begin their latest quest for significant event gold on Monday afternoon at the Khalifa International Stadium when they take on Iran in their first match in Group B.
Meanwhile, their rivals compete on the most powerful global platform for the third time in a row, but they have a steep hill to climb before they can ultimately advance beyond the group stage.
England vs Iran FIFA Group B Match Preview
Gareth Southgate’s youthful, the effervescent crop will try to replicate the heroes of 1966. Declan Rice’s empty bag will be helpful if the Three Lions go one better at big tournaments under the 52-year-old.
Kieran Trippier’s semi-final free kick against Croatia in 2014 was surpassed by Luke Shaw’s opener against Italy in 2020, although England didn’t win either tournament.
The 1966 winners entered the World Cup after a dismal Nations League season that demoted them to League B. They didn’t score from open play until their 3-3 tie with Germany on the penultimate matchday.
England might lose seven straight games for the first time since 1958, which would be a big blemish on Southgate’s record as talk about his post-World Cup future heats up.
England won its first World Cup match in 1998, 2006, and 2018 but lost in 2002, 2010, and 2014. Iran could play without fear, knowing that the burden was off.
Iran will battle Runner up in Group B between Wales and the United States if England wins as predicted, but they are among many teams mired in pre-tournament controversy.
The Ukrainian FA demanded Iran’s removal from the World Cup of suspicions it supplied Russia with weaponry for the current conflict in Eastern Europe. Still, Carlos Queiroz’s team is now prepared to participate in the finals for the third time in a row.
Iran has never advanced beyond the World Cup group stage and has only won two games in the tournament, including one against Morocco on the first matchday of Russia in 2018.
Team Melli won 1-0 in a friendly against Nicaragua last week, losing 2-0 to Tunisia on Wednesday. It was their third loss in their previous 22 games, and their 0.6 goals-per-game World Cup ratio is the lowest. That has played at least ten matches.
Team Melli is looking for their first victory against European opponents on the ninth try, which would send shockwaves across Qatar.
England vs Iran FIFA Group B Team News
After missing training earlier this week to limit his effort after an injury scare last weekend, England and Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker confessed that Monday’s game could come too soon as he struggles back from groin surgery.
However, the Leicester City player’s absence was anticipated. Therefore Kieran Trippier should start on the right in Walker’s absence and the age-old issue of whether Southgate would line up with a back three or back four is already being raised.
While Rice and Kalvin Phillips worked well together in the middle of the field at Euro 2020, Southgate may choose to start fan favourite Jude Bellingham instead because of Phillips’s lack of playing experience after shoulder surgery.
For Iran, veteran midfielder Omid Ebrahimi is out with a groin ailment. However, after ripping a calf muscle last month, Bayer Leverkusen forward Sardar Azmoun is still a group member.
It’s unlikely that Queiroz would start Mehdi Taremi from Porto. He is a recognizable name that should back up Alireza Jahanbakhsh in place of Azmoun.
Ehsan Hajsafi will wear the captain’s armband as he makes his 122nd appearance for Team Melli, while Saman Ghoddos of Brentford will have to settle for a spot on the bench.
- Possible Starting Lineup of England: Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Bellingham, Sterling, Mount, Foden, Kane.
- Possible Starting Lineup of Iran: Beiranvand, Moharrami, Pouraliganji, Hosseini, Mohammedi, Nourollahi, Ezatolahi, Hajsafi, Jahanbakhsh, Taremi, Amiri.
FIFA Group B Prediction: England 2-0 Iran
Although the Iranians’ offensive lineup may have some well-known stars with lots of international experience in front of the net, we are not anticipating any shocks on Monday.
England should start their World Cup campaign with a straightforward three points, as the team is eager to shake off a disappointing Nations League campaign and has a plethora of in-form attackers of their own to pull upon.