Gareth Southgate’s England squad made their best ever start to a World Cup after recording a record breaking 6-2 victory over Iran. It is England’s highest ever goal tally in a World Cup opener.
The victory over Iran is England’s second biggest ever victory at the World Cup and it comes just four years after a 6-1 win over Panama in 2018. Southgate has now won a record breaking nine games in major tournaments as England manager - surpassing the record previously set by World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey.
Gareth Southgate’s side strolled to victory in the game against Iran and the 52-year-old manager has silenced critics over his team selection after a statement performance. The likes of Jude Bellingham, Bukaya Saka, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish all got on the scoresheet - demonstrating the level of fire power that the Three Lions have at their disposal.
Attention now turns to the second game against The United States and a victory for England can secure their place in the round of 16 with a game to spare. However, The United States pose a very different threat to Iran and Gregg Berhalter’s side will be hoping that players such as Cristian Pulisic and Timothy Weah can inspire his side to an upset.
Southgate’s men enjoyed an excellent performance playing the 4-3-3 formation during the last game but is he likely to make changes this time around?
What should England’s starting line up be against USA?
Heading into the tournament there was great talk over whether Gareth Southgate would persist with the 5-2-3 formation that he has used in recent tournaments or whether he would move to a four man defence.
The 52-year-old opted for a 4-3-3 formation against Iran and his Three Lions side looked fluid in possession and a constant threat going forward. If he sticks with that formation it should cause plenty of problems for the United States defence.
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford has been an ever-present for England since Gareth Southgate became manager in 2016. In that time Pickford has picked up 46 caps for the Three Lions - helping them to a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and a Euro final in 2021.
The 28-year-old shot stopper has rarely put a foot wrong in a Three Lions shirt and deserves to keep his place against USA.
Right back: Kieran Trippier
Kieran Trippier has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League this season for Newcastle and the 32-year-old has played an instrumental role in their upturn in fortunes in 2022.
Trippier entered the World Cup as England’s most inform right back and was rewarded with a start for the World Cup opener. Trippier enjoyed an excellent game at right back and was a constant threat going forward for the Three Lions. He looks likely to remain in the team.
Centre Back: John Stones
John Stones has struggled for first team football at Manchester City this season but remains a pivotal figure at the back for the Three Lions. The 28-year-old has been a regular throughout the last two tournaments and his composure and ability to play the ball out from the back is a key asset for the Three Lions.
Centre back: Ben White
Many eyebrows were raised when Harry Maguire was selected as a starter for England’s World Cup opener. However, Maguire enjoyed an excellent game at the back and was a key threat for the Three Lions from set pieces.
However, Maguire appears to be an injury doubt for the Three Lions and was subbed off during the second half against Iran. If Maguire is unavailable for the game then Ben White is likely to be England’s best option.
White has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season and has been part of a rock solid defence. White has been in better form than the likes of Eric Dier and Conor Coady.
Left back: Luke Shaw
Luke Shaw has been an inconsistent figure for Manchester United this season but has nearly always delivered for England on the international stage.
Shaw was an instrumental member of the team that went all the way to the Euro 2020 final and he picked up exactly where he left off for England in the World Cup opener. The Manchester United left back was a constant threat going forward and provided the assist for Jude Bellingham’s opener.
Centre midfield: Jude Bellingham
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Belligingham was tipped to be a breakout star in Qatar and he has certainly lived up to expectations so far in the World Cup opener against Iran. The 19-year-old started the scoring with an excellent header and dominated the midfield battle alongside Declan Rice.
England kept 78 percent possession against Iran and Bellingham played a crucial part in that - he completed 100 percent of his 40 passes in the first half and rarely gave the ball away at any point during the match.
Centre midfielder: Declan Rice
West Ham United star Declan Rice has been a regular for the Three Lions for the last few years and he has already recorded an impressive 35 caps at just 23 years of age.
Rice enjoyed an impressive World Cup debut against Iran and played a key role in controlling the midfield alongside Jude Bellingham. He is likely to retain his place against the United States and will be instrumental in nullifying the threat of Weston McKennie.
Centre midfielder: Phil Foden
Gareth Southgate started Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount in the opening game against Iran and the 23-year-old produced a strong display in the opener.
However, Phil Foden is one of the best young talents in English football and has been in tremendous form this season for Manchester City - scoring seven goals and recording four assists including a hat-trick in the Manchester derby. He offers something different to Mount and could be the key to unlocking the United States defence.
Right winger: Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka was the breakout star at Euro 2020 and will be aiming to go to new heights in Qatar 2022. The Arsenal winger caused huge problems for the Iranian defence and scored an impressive two goals as England cruised to victory.
The 21-year-old winger will be a key player in this tournament and deserves to keep his place in the team.
Striker: Harry Kane
Harry Kane has been one of the best strikers in world football for the last eight years and he has been a key member of the success Gareth Southgate has achieved as England manager.
Kane has scored an impressive 51 goals for the Three Lions in 76 appearances and is aiming to become the first player in World Cup history to win back to back golden boots. The Tottenham striker will have been disappointed not to score against Iran and will be keen to get on the scoresheet in the next two group games.
The 29-year-old was subbed off against Iran with a minor ankle injury but Southgate has confirmed it is nothing serious and the Tottenham striker is expected to lead the line again for England.
Left winger: Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling was England’s stand out threat in Euro 2020 and he continued to show his importance to the side against Iran by getting his name on the scoresheet.
Sterling possesses some of the best movement inside the box of any player in world football and offers a constant threat going forward. Sterling is still just 27 years old but has already made a staggering 80 appearances for the Three Lions.
He is likely to add to that tally against the United States.