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England vs Iran Match Preview

18 Nov 2022 21:56    

England vs Iran Match Preview

England to edge Iran to open WC Group B

England vs Iran - 21/11/2022

England will begin their World Cup 2022 journey on Monday at the Khalifa International Stadium versus Iran. The Three Lions are fourth-favourites to win the World Cup, with leading bookmakers offering 8/1 odds pre-tournament.

Iran are one of the long-shots of the World Cup tournament. Could Iran be the first dark horse to win the World Cup and the first Asian nation to lift the trophy?

Don’t be so fast to think Iran can win the tournament or go deep into the knockout rounds. However, Iran will fancy a strong performance in Group B, which also features the United States and Wales.

England are not in great form ahead of the World Cup. Although the Three Lions topped their qualifying group, with eight wins and two draws from 10 games, they struggled through the summer in the UEFA Nations League.

The English were relegated from UEFA Nations League A after finishing bottom of a group containing Italy, Germany, and Hungary. England’s World Cup group is far easier than their Nations League group, however.

Manager Gareth Southgate will likely select a starting XI with experienced players he can trust. Harry Kane will start in attack unless a late fitness issue crops up. Kane won the World Cup Golden Boot award in 2018 with six goals.

Southgate will likely play a 3-4-2-1 formation with the combination of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham protecting the backline. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will likely start in goal to give the team the stability of international experience.

Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden could be used to support Kane. However, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is playing well in the Premier League and could get a start over Foden.

Iran are managed by former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz. The well-travelled manager has a record of 2W-1D-1L in 2022. Iran are coming off a pre-tournament friendly versus Tunisia, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat.

Queiroz will likely use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Like Southgate, he will deploy two holding midfielders to protect the defence. Striker Medhi Taremi of FC Porto will be tasked with getting goals for Iran. He will likely be joined in attack by former Brighton player Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Southgate is unlikely to have one player for the opening match, as full-back Kyle Walker is not fit. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold could step in for Walker. Iran forward Sadar Azmoun is a doubt to play following a torn muscle.

England should start the tournament with a win, but it will be a narrow victory. The Three Lions should get off the mark with a 1-0 victory.

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