England fans watch England take on Iran at Boxpark Croydon
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This year’s World Cup finally got underway on Sunday afternoon, with Qatar falling to a comfortable defeat at the hands of Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament at the Al Bayt Stadium. A brace from Enner Valencia saw Ecuador claim the spoils on a historic night for the host nation, who were unable to give their adoring fans something to cheer about in spite of their best efforts after a glitzy opening ceremony.
All eyes will now turn to Group B and England, who will face Iran in their first game this afternoon as they look to begin their campaign with a win over Carlos Queiroz’s side at the Khalifa International Stadium. Gareth Southgate is expected to name an attacking line-up for the match, with the likes of Kieran Trippier, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount set to start for the Three Lions, while there is said to be a chance that Harry Kane may be prevented from playing if he decides to wear the FA’s One Love armband despite FIFA having banned it from the tournament.
Wales will also be in action today against the USA as Rob Page’s men look to make their country proud in their first World Cup outing since 1958 on a momentous day for the nation. They will be desperately hoping that Gareth Bale can lead them to a hugely important victory at the Al-Rayyan Stadium, although they are likely to be tested by the Americans if they decide to field the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Giovanni Reyna in their bid to break Welsh hearts.
Follow Express Sport‘s live World Cup updates below.
The Netherlands secure a 2-0 win
The Netherlands have defeated Senegal 2-0 in their opening World Cup match, with Davy Klaassen adding a second goal in the 99th minute after Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had parried Memphis Depay’s effort. Louis van Gaal’s side are now joint-top of Group A alongside Ecuador, who defeated Qatar by the same scoreline on Sunday.
The Netherlands finally go ahead against Senegal
The Netherlands have finally taken the lead against Senegal in their opening World Cup clash. Manchester United and Arsenal target Cody Gakpo rises to head home Frenkie de Jong’s cross with 84 minutes on the clock.
Ecuador topped Group A after the first day of the World Cup after getting the better of host nation Qatar, but Louis van Gaal’s side now look set to join them on three points.
Harry Kane injury concern for England
England have been handed an injury concern after captain Harry Kane was brought off during the second half of the Three Lions’ 6-2 World Cup victory over Iran. Kane was reportedly seen limping while wearing strapping in the aftermath of the showdown.
But England boss Gareth Southgate doesn’t think the issue will be long-term. “Kane [is] fine,” said the ex-defender. “It looked a bad tackle but he carried on in the game. We took him off because we felt it was a moment we can do that.”
The Netherlands are being held at the break
The Netherlands are being held by Senegal in their World Cup opener and it’s 0-0 at half time. Both sides have had chances to score but are lacking a cutting edge in front of goal. The winner of Group A, which also contains Qatar and Ecuador, will face the runners-up of Group B, which includes England and Wales.
Senegal vs Netherlands is underway
Netherlands’ World Cup opener against Senegal is now underway at the Al Thumama Stadium. The European country reached the tournament after winning seven of their 10 qualifying matches to top their group.
The African country, meanwhile, reached Qatar after winning five of their six group matches, before beating Egypt in a two-legged play-off following a penalty shootout in the second leg.
Netherlands face Senegal next
The Netherlands will get their World Cup campaign underway at 4pm against Senegal, who are without Sadio Mane after the Bayern Munich forward’s injury before the start of the tournament.
The match is being shown live on ITV1 and will get underway in just over 15 minutes’ time.
England breeze past Iran
The full-time whistle blows at the Khalifa International Stadium and it’s England who cruise to an eventful 6-2 victory over Iran in their opening Group B fixture.
It was a hugely dominant performance from the Three Lions, who added a sixth through Jack Grealish late on before Mehdi Taremi scored another for Iran from the penalty spot deep into added time.
Gareth Southgate could hardly have dreamed of a better start to his side’s World Cup campaign!
England add a fifth
Marcus Rashford scores for England just seconds after coming off the bench with a composed finish into the bottom corner of the net.
There are just 15 minutes remaining at the Khalifa International Stadium – follow minute-by-minute updates of the closing stages here.
Two more goals in Doha
England now find themselves 4-1 up against Iran, with Bukayo Saka firing home a brilliant goal after dancing around inside the area before Mehdi Taremi races down the other end to add what is almost certainly a consolation for the underdogs.
There are just over 20 minutes remaining on Doha and the Three Lions are surely home and hosed.
Iran struggling to contain England
The second half is now underway in Doha and it’s very much as you were, with England dominating proceedings and Iran struggling to keep the Three Lions out.
A reminder that Wales will, of course, be in action later on against the USA to mark their first World Cup appearance since 1958.
England three up at the break
Well, well, well. What a half that was from England!
Two quick-fire goals from Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling after Jude Bellingham’s opener have the Three Lions cruising at half-time against Iran.
Gareth Southgate’s side are almost certainly home and dry after just 45 minutes of football… can they see the game out by keeping things tight after the restart?
Find out with live match updates on our dedicated page, which can be found here.
First blood to England!
England now find themselves a goal to the good after Jude Bellingham rose highest to slam home a towering header.
Can they get another to give themselves some breathing room before the half-time whistle?
Follow kick-by-kick updates here.
Iran holding England for now
It’s still goalless in Doha, with England firmly on top but struggling to break down the strong-willed Iranian defence.
The underdogs have been forced into an early change between the sticks, with Hossein Hosseini on for the injured Alireza Beiranvand.
England dominating early on
England have enjoyed the lion’s share of possession as things stand and look good value for their status as the pre-match favourites.
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand is currently receiving treatment for a head injury, though, in a major worry for the underdogs.
A reminder that you can follow live updates from the match here.
Kick-off in Doha
We’re underway at the Khalifa International Stadium as England look to get their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start against Iran in Group B.
You can follow live updates from that match here.
Come on England!
FIFA scrap World Cup ceremony plans
FIFA have ditched their plans to host a lavish ceremony before every World Cup fixture after receiving instructions from Qatar’s Supreme Committee, according to the Daily Mail.
The world governing body had planned to hold similar events to the opening ceremony on Sunday, which was widely criticised for its supposed hypocrisy, but have decided against implementing the plans.
FIFA had been rehearsing and planning for a similar show to precede every World Cup match, with 64 matches in total to be played in Qatar, but those plans have since been scrapped and a scaled-down version will be used instead.
England fans stuck outside
A large number of England fans are yet to enter the stadium due to issues with FIFA’s ticketing app, according to BBC Sport.
The stands are some way off being full as things stand, with just over 10 minutes until kick-off…
Beer adverts on display in stadium
Jack Otway in Doha
FIFA have been left red-faced with beer advertised inside the stadium before England’s World Cup opener against Iran.
The Qatar authorities demanded sales of alcohol be prohibited after interventions from the royal family, with the country implementing strict Islamic rules.
But that hasn’t stopped a huge screen from showing Budweisers inside the ground.
Prime Minister shares ‘frustration’ with FA
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has insisted via a spokesperson that he can understand the FA’s anger over the OneLove armband saga after FIFA threatened any captains that choose to wear it at the World Cup with yellow cards and other sanctions.
“We share the FA’s frustration with Fifa’s decision on this which puts players in a very difficult position,” said a spokesperson.
“It is, ultimately, a decision for the FA. On LGBT rights more broadly, clearly Qatar’s policies are not those of the UK Government and not ones we would endorse.”
Germany legend hails Bellingham
Lothar Matthaus, who captained Germany to World Cup glory back in 1990, has suggested that Jude Bellingham could be England’s star man if he manages to live up to expectations over the course of the tournament in Qatar.
“Bellingham is a player who reminds me of myself,” Matthaus tells BBC Sport ahead of kick-off in Doha.
“He can play at number eight or 10. He is excellent and will not stay at Borussia Dortmund. All the Premier League clubs and Spain want him in their team.
“He has a good mentality, is physically strong at just 19 years old. He has confidence and he shows it. Bellingham is a man.”
England team to play Iran
Here’s a look at the England team to face Iran in today’s Group B opener at the Khalifa International Stadium, with kick-off just over an hour away.
You can follow live updates from that match and all the build-up on our dedicated page, which can be found here.
England fans in fine voice
A large number of England supporters have gathered to watch today’s game in pubs around the country, with those at Boxpark Croydon making themselves heard ahead of kick-off…
England fans at Boxpark Croydon in good voice ahead of Iran game
Iran fans making themselves heard
Jack Otway in Doha
Iran fans have been in full voice ahead of today’s game.
The Metro in Doha was packed with supporters chanting, with their England counterparts certainly outnumbered as kick off creeps closer.
There is a relaxed atmosphere around the stadium. As well as chants, there was dancing, music and lots of smiles on show.
Let’s just hope it’s England fans who have grins on their faces come the final whistle.
Captains urged to speak up
Peter Tatchell, who recently made headlines by staging a protest against Qatar’s approach to LGBTQ+ rights in Doha, has urged the likes of Harry Kane and Gareth Bale to speak about the topic in their post-match press conferences after the FA’s decision to backtrack on their initial plan to wear the OneLove armband during the World Cup.
FSA release strongly-worded statement
The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) have slammed FIFA’s decision to threaten teams with bookings if their captains wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup after the FA backtracked on their original plan to do so regardless.
A statement read: “To paraphrase FIFA president Gianni Infantino – today LGBT+ football supporters and their allies will feel angry. Today we feel betrayed.
“Today we feel contempt for an organisation that has shown its true values by giving the yellow card to players and the red card to tolerance.
“Never again should a World Cup be handed out solely on the basis of money and infrastructure. No country which falls short on LGBT+ rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights or any other universal human right should be given the honour of hosting a World Cup.
“Since 2010 we have been raising questions about the suitability of Qatar as a World Cup host. Everyone could see this coming and it’s astonishing that, on the morning of England’s World Cup opener, FIFA are censoring players and the nine national FAs – including the FA and FAW – who wish to share a positive message.”
England branded ‘ridiculous’ over OneLove saga
Former England defender Michael Dawson did not mince his words when quizzed on his thoughts about the FA’s decision to scrap their plans for Harry Kane to wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup, just hours before today’s opening game against Iran.
“They’ve had the chance to sort this out since September, the fact it’s been left until this morning is ridiculous,” Dawson told Sky Sports.
“It shouldn’t have come to this. This just sums it up, we’ve seen the things that have gone on in Qatar and with FIFA and now it’s come to this on a morning of a game. I think it’s ridiculous.”
Bale ready to make history
Wales talisman Gareth Bale has insisted that he is determined to give his countrymen something to cheer about when they make their first World Cup appearance since 1958 against the USA later this evening.
“It’s probably the biggest honour we could have for our country, qualifying for a World Cup, something we haven’t done in 64 years,” said Bale.
“It’s history in our country. Schools are going to stop to watch our games. Kids are going to miss school, fortunately for them. It’s a massive piece of history in our country and something we have all wanted for a long time.
“We have the support of the nation back home, no matter what happens, as long as we give 100 per cent our country will love us for that.”
England backtrack on OneLove armband
The FA and six other national federations have announced that their captains will not be wearing the OneLove armband at this year’s World Cup in spite of their earlier insistence that they would not be deterred by FIFA’s opposition to the plans.
An official statement read: “FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.
“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 the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”
Netherlands scrap OneLove armband plans
The Netherlands have officially announced that they will not be wearing the OneLove captain’s armband at the World Cup in order to steer clear of any potential sporting sanctions from FIFA.
A statement from the KNVB read: “We stand for the OneLove message and will continue to do so, but our first priority is winning games at the World Cup.
“You don’t want your captain to start a game with a yellow card which is why we – with pain in our heart – had to say no to our plan.”
It remains to be seen whether England and Wales will follow suit ahead of their opening group stage matches later today…
Fans begin to arrive in Doha
England supporters are starting to arrive in the vicinity of the Khalifa International Stadium for today’s game against Iran, which is set to kick off in just under four hours’ time…
England fans end up in Sheikh’s palace
One of the most unbelievable stories from this year’s World Cup so far involves a group of England fans who claim they found themselves kicking back with members of Qatar’s ruling class and several wild animals over the weekend.
The two supporters explained to talkSPORT: “We’ve just been having a good time, having a mooch and trying to get our bearings. The set-up’s spot on, we’ve been enjoying ourselves.
“Last night we met one of the Sheikh’s sons and he took us back to the palace. He showed us that he had lions and everything. They’ve made us so welcome.
“Basically we were on a bit of a hunt for some beers and he was like yeah, we sort beers, so we jumped into the back of his Toyota Landcruiser, ended up at a big palace. He showed us his monkeys, his exotic birds. It was nuts.”
It seems as though the England fans in question weren’t lying either, with an incredible clip doing the rounds on Twitter…
Kane facing threat of FIFA ban
Harry Kane may be prevented from stepping on the pitch if he defies FIFA by wearing the OneLove captain’s armband against Iran later today.
The FA have been left in the dark by FIFA over what will happen if the England skipper goes against the wishes of football’s governing body amid concerns he could be booked immediately or even banned from playing in their World Cup opener.
Kane confirmed on Sunday that he still intends to wear the OneLove armband and said a decision would be made before the game, telling reporters: “I think we’ve made it clear as a team that we want to wear the armband.
“I know the FA are talking to FIFA at the moment and I think by game time tomorrow they will have the decision.”
Ronaldo breaks silence after interview
Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted that he speaks when he wants to after taking part in a controversial no-holds-barred interview with Piers Morgan earlier this month, which grabbed international headlines just days before the start of the World Cup.
“Timing is always timing,” said Ronaldo at an unexpected press conference earlier this morning. “From your side it is easy to look at how we can choose timings.
“Sometimes you write truths, sometimes you write lies. I don’t have to worry what others think. I talk when I want to. Everybody knows who I am, what I believe in.”
England team news leaked
Gareth Southgate is set to name an attacking England line-up for today’s Group B opener against Iran, Express Sport understands.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will start in goal behind the back four, which will consist of Kieran Tripper, Harry Maguire, John Stones and Luke Shaw.
They will be protected by a midfield trio of Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Mason Mount, with Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling expected to flank Harry Kane at the top end of the pitch.
Hello and welcome to Express Sport‘s live coverage of all the latest news and gossip from the World Cup in Qatar.
It’s certainly going to be an action-packed day, with England up first against Iran at 1pm before the Netherlands face Senegal at 4pm and Wales take on the USA later this evening at 7pm.
We’ll be on hand to keep you updated throughout day two of the tournament, so grab a coffee and stay tuned!
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