Group B at the World Cup gets underway on Monday afternoon, and one of the pre-tournament favourites will be looking to put down an early marker. England open their campaign against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium, and anything other than three points would put them under immense pressure.
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It still feels as though Gareth Southgate is building something with this exciting England side, but the time for a trophy to show for all his hard work appears to be now. The Three Lions reached the semi-finals at the previous World Cup in Russia, before they were beaten finalists at EURO 2020. However, England has questions to answer in Qatar this winter, as their form in the lead up to this competition has done very little to merit support.
The Three Lions finished bottom of their Nations League group this year, as they failed to win in six fixtures against Hungary, Germany and Italy. In fact, their only goals from open play during that period were scored in their most recent fixture against Germany at Wembley. That performance is one that England fans will be clinging to when it comes to dreams of winning a first major tournament since 1966, as the Three Lions battled back from 2-0 down.
A familiar face for English football fans will be sitting in the opposite dugout on Monday, as Iran are managed by former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz. Iran will be competing at the World Cup for the sixth time, but they are yet to progress beyond the group stage.
However, they shouldn’t be taken lightly by any nation, as they have some fine recent form to their name. They are unbeaten in their previous three international fixtures, with their standout win coming at the end of September against Uruguay. Still, qualifying from this group appears to be a tall order.
England vs Iran Head to Head
It will be a historic moment for Iran at the World Cup, as they will come up against England for the first time in their international history.
England vs Iran Prediction
England fans are already coming into the World Cup with little hope of winning the tournament, which means that Gareth Southgate can ill-afford a poor performance from his team in the opening game. We expect the Three Lions to get the win, but a 1-0 win may be the most likely result.
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