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Saka hits brace as England crush Iran 6-2

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England made a scintillating start to their World Cup campaign as Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham inspired a 6-2 rout of outclassed Iran in Monday’s Group B opener in Doha.

Saka and Bellingham were England’s driving forces with dynamic displays that underlined their emergence as two of the game’s brightest young stars.

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Bellingham, 19, shattered Iran’s hopes of frustrating England when he rose to head his maiden senior international goal in the first half.

Gareth Southgate’s side were in sparkling form at the Khalifa International Stadium and goals from Saka and Raheem Sterling put them in complete control before half-time.

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Saka, 21, netted again after the interval and, although Mehdi Taremi struck twice for Iran, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish completed the demolition.

There will be far sterner tests to come for England as they bid to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

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But this was a welcome step in the right direction for Southgate, whose team arrived in Qatar on a six-match winless run that triggered scathing criticism of the Three Lions boss and his perceived negative tactics.

The only concern for Southgate was the sight of Harry Maguire being replaced in the second half after being checked for a potential head injury.

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England play their second match against the United States on Friday and conclude their Group B fixtures against Wales on November 29.

Just hours before kick-off, England revealed captain Harry Kane would not wear a rainbow-themed ‘One Love’ armband after the Football Association and several other European countries dropped their campaign in support of LGBTQ rights.

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Because the armband was not a FIFA-approved piece of kit, it was reported any player wearing it would be booked – a risk England were apparently unwilling to take.

The match also took place against the background of turmoil in Iran after months of female-led demonstrations sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman of Kurdish origin who was arrested by the morality police in Tehran.

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Iran’s players refused to sing their national anthem in apparent support for anti-government protesters.

Sublime Saka
Having reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 before losing to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, England are desperate to take the last step to silverware in Doha.

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Southgate had urged his team “play on the front foot” and they responded in style, after initially finding their rhythm disrupted by a long delay when Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand smashed into team-mate Majid Hosseini.

Despite being in no state to continue amid fears of a concussion, the bloodied Beiranvand played on before finally being substituted.

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England eventually penned Iran deep inside their own half and Bellingham delivered in the 35th minute.

Sterling found Luke Shaw on the left flank and his cross was perfectly weighted for Bellingham, who looped a fine header into the far corner.

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Playing for Birmingham in the Championship just two years ago, the Borussia Dortmund star’s goal made him England’s second youngest scorer at a World Cup behind Michael Owen.

Eight minutes later another of England’s gifted prodigies doubled the lead.

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Maguire headed down a corner and Arsenal forward Saka swivelled to lash a superb left-foot finish into the top corner.

Sterling put the result beyond doubt with his first goal at a World Cup in first-half stoppage time.

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Bellingham fed Kane, whose pin-point cross was volleyed home by Sterling with the outside of his boot.

Saka made it four in the 62nd minute when he shuffled across the Iran area before stroking his shot past Hossein Hosseini.

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Taremi fired into the roof of the net to reduce the deficit three minutes later.

Rashford’s cool finish in the 71st minute, 49 seconds after he came on, was followed by Grealish’s 90th-minute tap-in.

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Taremi struck from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game after a shirt pull by John Stones, but the margin of victory reflected England’s total dominance.(AFP)

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Qatar: WC Lights Up To Show Solidarity For Ailing Pele

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World Cup host nation Qatar showed its support for Pele on Saturday, lighting up buildings with a “Get well soon” message for the Brazil football great.

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The Lusail Stadium in Doha, which will host the World Cup final on December 18, and the Aspire Tower next to the Khalifa Stadium, were adorned with pictures of Pele in his famous number 10 shirt.

On the Corniche, the Qatari capital’s seafront promenade, the dozens of drones that come alive each night drew a Brazil shirt with Pele’s name and number 10 on the back.

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Pele was admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo earlier this week for what doctors said was a “re-evaluation” of the chemotherapy he has been undergoing since surgery to remove a colon tumour in September last year.
Players in Qatar have expressed concerns for the health of the three-time World Cup winner, who is now 82.

France striker Kylian Mbappe on Saturday tweeted: “Pray for the King.”

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England captain Harry Kane offered his support for Pele at a press conference ahead of his team’s last-16 tie against Senegal.

“We send our best wishes to him and obviously all his family as well,” said Kane. “He is an inspiration amongst our game and an incredible footballer and incredible person. We wish him well.”

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Doctors treating Pele said Friday that he was being treated with antibiotics.

Pele has taken to Instagram to thank well-wishers for their show of support.

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“It’s always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes!”

AFP

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Oliseh praises Morocco, Senegal historic World Cup feat

Ex-Super Eagles Captain, Oliseh
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Former Super Eagles coach and a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group for the 2022 World Cup, Sunday Oliseh, has hailed Senegal and Morocco for reaching the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Morocco edged past Canada to top Group F and reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time in 36 years.

Morocco finished on seven points, two more than runners-up Croatia, to advance from the group stage of the tournament to the next for a second time, 36 years after they became the first African country to do so at the Mexico World Cup in 1986.

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The Atlas Lions, whose previous trip to the last 16 came in 1986, finished above 2018 finalists Croatia, while Belgium – ranked second in the world – are out after finishing third in the group.

Oliseh was impressed with the performance of the two African sides at the World Cup.

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“The Euphoria here in Qatar is infectious as my in-laws, Morocco, achieve a historic second round World cup qualification. First, Senegal now this. What a World Cup for Africa with African coaches! I feel more is coming.” Oliseh said on Twitter.

He also applauded Mohammed Kudus for his creative display in Ghana’s 2-0 defeat to Uruguay, adding that the future of the Black Stars is bright.

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“Just watched Mohammed Kudus, a superstar on which Ghana can rebuild a top Black Stars team. A skilful, fast creative, humble, strong, sharp, shooter, hardworking with leadership “on pitch” qualities.

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Dede Ayew trends after missing penalty against Uruguay

Dede Ayew
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Black Stars captain, Andre Dede Ayew is in the top trends after missing a penalty in Ghana’s game against Uruguay at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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Ghana started the game very slow but managed to get one chance in the game which saw Jordan Ayew shoot the ball and Mohammed Kudus followed with a rebound and won a penalty for Ghana by the 19th minute.

Referee Daniel Siebert whistled for an offside but after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee, he awarded a penalty to Ghana.

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Captain of the side, Andre Ayew volunteered himself to take the kick for the Black Stars.

Unfortunately, Andre Ayew had his penalty saved by the Uruguay goalkeeper who went in the right direction to deny Ghana a goal.

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Following the miss by Andre Ayew, the Black Stars captain has been trending on social media ever since.

Read some of the comments on social media below

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“And we have in our local dialect, Penalty mp3 Dede” pic.twitter.com/BBpMO0VuiL

— Weffrey Jellington (@jeffwellz) December 2, 2022

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Dede Ayew should stay in Qatar

— Serwaa Amihere (@Serwaa_Amihere) December 2, 2022

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AYEW KIDDING ME??? This is worse than Asamoah Gyan’s penalty ???????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/BJWg4bZtmz

— SP ???????? (@septimusajprime) December 2, 2022

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Confirmed … he sell the match .. Penalty mp3 Dede pic.twitter.com/WNQZCqvdKb

— Mr Carter (@GhCarter4) December 2, 2022

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Penalty mp3 Dede ???????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/jMTnXdzNSt

— Lormi ???????? (@Lormi_) December 2, 2022

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Penalty mp3 Dede????

— ANITA???? (@Anita__Akuffo) December 2, 2022

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“Penalty mp3 Dede” pic.twitter.com/R34KEdkHiF

— Tema Mayor ???????? (@Pro_designer_) December 2, 2022

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Penalty mp3 Dede
Deden’t it??????????? pic.twitter.com/eOOpx3uY9R

— The Truth Teller (@Truthteller2154) December 2, 2022

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Ghanaians right now ????????
Mmoa come talk ????????????
Penalty mp3 dede ???????????? pic.twitter.com/ubcrGC9iSG

— Bra Qwameh #JamzAlbum (@BraQwameh) December 2, 2022

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What’s Kudus doing?
Penalty mp3 Dede???????????? pic.twitter.com/CtBnqY3BgA

— Hon. ADB???????? (@official_ADB2) December 2, 2022

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Penalty mp3 Dede
—This picture is useful after all —

????Transfer of nonfa penalty ???? pic.twitter.com/lzrvEfUED7

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— Grandee (@officialgrandee) December 2, 2022

Penalty mp3 Dede pic.twitter.com/ncwgmEhsVL

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— KAY????➗ (@man_like_kayyy) December 2, 2022

Penalty mp3 dede ???????????? @gyaigyimii pic.twitter.com/k8xumMiWcg

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— Hajia Labaran (@uptimegh1) December 2, 2022

Penalty mp3 Dede pic.twitter.com/w0R8iS7l1A

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— Nathan_tagoe (@Nathantagoe1) December 2, 2022

Penalty mp3 Dede ???????????? pic.twitter.com/A0QJQigzWK

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— MANTSE???? DARKO???? (@ZaamaniAMF45) December 2, 2022

handing over done successfully ????????????

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