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England vs Iran Match Preview

19 Nov 2022 18:33    

The match

England open their 2022 World Cup campaign with a Group B game against Iran. Gareth Southgate's squad are among the favorites to win the World Cup but need to improve their form. They come into these championships having gone six internationals without a victory. Their last win was in March when beating Ivory Coast (not in these finals) in a home friendly. That's been followed by a disappointing Nations League group that has seen them relegated to League B. It has to be said that unless their form improves, they are not going to get close to repeating their semi-final appearance in the 2018 World Cup. The Nations League saw them earn only three points from creditable draws with Italy and twice with Germany. However, two losses to Hungary have shown the defensive weaknesses England still possess.

Another problem is their lack of goals. Before the 3-3 draw with Germany, England had failed to score from open play in five matches. Harry Kane remains their big hope up front but was recently described as being tired by club boss Antonio Conte. With Raheem Sterling not firing on all cylinders, England have work to do to get out of this group, let alone win the World Cup. A good win over Iran would boost their confidence ahead of the games against the USA and Wales. If they can't beat Iran, then the betting will begin on who will replace Southgate as coach. Young players such as Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden will hopefully enjoy a good tournament.

Iran are in the World Cup finals for the third successive tournament. They have never managed to get out of their group but weren't disgraced in 2018. Up against Spain and Portugal, they had slim qualification hopes. They didn't finish in the top two but only lost narrowly to Spain and drew with Portugal. Iran finished top of their group to qualify for these finals. They were ahead of South Korea and only conceded once in five home qualifiers. The only match they lost was away to the South Koreans. June saw them lose at home to Algeria in a friendly match. However, they are unbeaten in their last three games since that defeat. A 1-0 win over Uruguay and a 1-1 draw with Senegal indiciates they won't be pushovers in this game. They often struggle for goals though. Only once in their last games have they scored more than once and that was at home to Lebanon. England can start Group B with a win over Iran but there might be some nervous moments.

Key Statistics

England have a squad that is far more experienced at this level than their opponents.

Iran have only won one game in the World Cup finals this century.

England reached the Euro finals last year.

The bet of our experts

England will be confident of taking three points from this match. They're probably happy that their first game is against Iran rather than the US or Wales. The past six matches haven't seen England at their best and some key players have a bit to prove in these finals. The hope is that now the World Cup finals are here, players such as Kane and Sterling will raise their game. It'll be interesting to see who they choose to be goalkeeper. Ramsdale or Pope look better options than Pickford. Iran have never got past the group stages of the World Cup finals. They had a good qualifying campaign but are far better at home than on their travels. Go for England to win this.

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