The long wait is over and England will finally get their World Cup campaign underway when they face Group B opponents Iran later today.
The meeting with the side currently sitting in 20th in the official FIFA rankings provides Gareth Southgate and his players with an awkward start to the tournament as they look to get off to a positive start ahead of tests against the United States and Wales.
England’s last major tournament ended in heartache, with the Three Lions making it all the way to the Euro 2020 final, only to ultimately lose on penalties to Roberto Mancini’s Italy. Southgate’s side head into the tournament in dire form, following a woeful run in the UEFA Nations League, and have played no friendly matches in preparation for their World Cup campaign.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the big game:
What happened the last time the two countries met?
The two sides will create history as they have never met in international competition. In fact, the only time Iran have meet a side from Great Britain was when they claimed a 1-1 draw with a Scotland side containing Kenny Dalglish, Joe Jordan and John Robertson at the 1978 finals in Argentina.
What is the latest team news ahead of the game?
There has been little coming out of the England camp in the 24 hours before their campaign gets underway. A final training session took place in front of the watching media on Sunday lunchtime and it is understood Leicester City midfielder James Maddison trained away from the main group. That led to Sky Sports suggesting there was ‘no way’ he would be able to play any part in the game. Kyle Walker has already indicated he will not feature but is back in full training.
Who should we look out for in the Iran squad?
The main threat will come from Porto striker Mehdi Taremi, who has scored 13 goals and provided eight assists in 19 appearances in all competitions for the Portuguese giants this season. Bayer Leverkusen forward Sardar Azmoun will also be one to watch.
Where and when does the game take place?
The game will be held at the 45,000-capacity Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, which is located around 27 miles to the west of Doha. The stadium was opened in 1976 but has undergone renovations since then and was the first stadium to be converted for the finals. Liverpool have played there in the recent past as they beat Flamengo in the 2019 FIFA World Club Cup Final. Kick-off will take place at 1pm (UK time) on Monday, November 21st.
Where can I watch the game?
The game will be broadcast live on BBC One and can be streamed via the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website. The game will be free to watch for all UK viewers with a TV License. Those unable to watch the game on television or stream the action can listen to it via full commentary on BBC Five Live.