The Three Lions defeated Iran 6-2 in a one-sided contest - although attention was arguably focused just as much on what was happening off the pitch as well as on it.
Iran’s squad refused to sing the national anthem, as anti-government protests continue to take place across the Middle Eastern nation. Violence in the country has been escalating ever since the death of 20-year-old woman Mahsa Amini in police custody back in September 2022.
Meanwhile, England were involved in a last-minute controversy over the One Love armband initiative, which sought to spread an anti-discrimination message in the face of Qatar’s poor human rights record. Fans trying to enter the England and Wales matches with any rainbow clothing or flags were either asked to remove them or were barred from entering the ground.
So what was the celebration - and what did the Manchester City star say about it? Here’s what you need to know.
What was Jack Grealish’s goal celebration?
Jack Grealish came on as a substitute for Gareth Southgate in the second-half of England’s Group B match against Iran.
With the game already put to bed thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, Grealish added a final flourish in the 90th minute with a cool tap in from close range.
He ran over to the touchline so that he was close to the cameras, before wiggling his shoulders. The wiggle could be described as a form of the ‘worm’ dance which involves a person lying face down on the floor before wiggling their body from their head to their toes.
What did Jack Grealish say about goal celebration?
After the game, it became clear that the Jack Grealish wiggle was more than just a kooky new dance move. He revealed on social media that he had performed the celebration specially for a fan back in the UK.
Finlay, an 11-year-old who has cerebral palsy, met his Manchester City idol earlier this year. The pair first came into contact after Finlay wrote to Grealish having been inspired by the footballer talking about his younger sister Hollie Grealish, who also has cerebral palsy.
The forward frequently mentions his 19-year-old sister in Instagram posts. Recently, he shared a photograph of them celebrating Man City’s title win this summer with the caption: “Happy 19th birthday to my beautiful little sister Hollie 🥰 Keep being you and the happy little girl you are! Love you lots ❤️.”
When Grealish met Finlay at Man City’s training base, he promised the young fan he would do the special wiggle dance next time he scored - albeit not the full worm Finlay had initially requested owing to the injury risk. Finlay also received a signed Man City shirt.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester after the game, Finlay told the station that seeing the celebration was “the best thing ever”, adding that "it was amazing because he is my idol”. He also revealed that his meeting with Grealish earlier this year had been “very inspirational” and had "brought me confidence".
Finlay now hopes the England star will continue to celebrate his goals this way as the tournament progresses. England play the USA on Friday (25 November) and then Wales next Tuesday (29 November) as they continue their bid for their first major trophy since 1966.