Gareth Southgate has an extremely talented team at his disposal and will be aiming to guide England to their first World Cup victory since 1966. This tournament could prove to be make or break for Southgate who is under a great deal of pressure after a disappointing performance for the Three Lions in the UEFA Nations League.
But when is England’s opening fixture against Iran and how can you watch it? Here is everything you need to know.
When is England vs Iran?
England’s opening game against Iran will take place on Monday 21 November. Iran have appeared in the FIFA World Cup on six occasions in their history but have never progressed from the group stage.
What time does England vs Iran kick off?
England vs Iran will kick off at 1pm UK time. It will be the first ever meeting between England and Iran at a World Cup.
What is the venue for England vs Iran?
The game between England and Iran will take place at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar’s capital city Doha. The Khalifa international stadium was built in 1976 and has been converted for the 2022 World Cup.
The venue has been used for a number of international tournaments in the past such as the 2019 Fifa Club World Cup, the 2006 Asian Games and the 2019 World Championships in Athletics. The venue holds a total of around 45,000 seats and is the oldest football stadium in Qatar.
How to watch England vs Iran on TV
The Group B opener between England and Iran will be shown live on BBC One in the UK. You can also stream all of the action through the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. The game is free to watch on all these devices, providing that you have a TV licence.
Build up for the game will begin at 12pm (GMT) as Gary Lineker hosts the show in the studio. Guy Mowbray and Jermain Jenas will provide commentary on the game once it kicks off.
Gareth Southgate’s side will be without Leicester City midfielder James Maddision and Manchester City defender Kyle Walker. The pair are currently recovering from injuries but are expected to be fit in time for the second group game against the United States.
Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun is set to face a late fitness test ahead of the game against England. Azmoun has not played for Bayern Leverkusen since suffering a calf injury at the start of October. The 27-year-old is seen as a key player for his nation and has an impressive goal record of 41 goals from 65 games for Iran.
What to expect from Iran
Iran are aiming to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time in their history and although they are viewed by bookmakers as the least likely team to progress from Group B they could still prove to be a surprise package.
In 2018, Iran were drawn in the group of death alongside Spain, Portugal and Morocco and they still amassed four points from their group. During Russia 2018 - Iran were known for playing a deep back line and they conceded just two goals in the tournament. They finished their group campaign in third and were just a point behind runners-up Portugal who reached the round of 16.
Iran are currently managed by the experienced Portuguese manager Carlos Quieroz. At club level, Quieroz has managed the likes of Sporting Lisbon and Real Madrid. He also worked as assistant manager to Alex Ferguson during two successful spells with the club.
Quieroz is vastly experienced at international level and this tournament will be the fifth time he has managed at the World Cup. His previous stints were: South Africa (2002), Portugal (2010) and Iran in 2014 and 2018.
How have England performed in opening games of previous World Cups?
England will enter the game against Iran as huge favourites to win despite their poor performance in the UEFA Nations League. Southgate has a huge pool of talented players to choose from and the likes of Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling are just a few of the many players expected to shine in Qatar.
England have traditionally started well in the World Cup; they have won their opening game in three of the last five World Cups and reached the knockout stages on four of those occasions. The last time England failed to reach the knockout stage was in 2014 when Roy Hodgson’s team lost their opening group game to Italy.
Here is a list of England’s opening game results in the last five major tournaments.
- 2018 World Cup- England 2-1 Tunisia
- 2014 World Cup - England 1-2 Italy
- 2010 World Cup - England 1-1 USA
- 2006 World Cup - England 1-0 Paraguay
- 2002 World Cup - England 1-1 Sweden