The FIFA World Cup is up and running for the first time in a Middle-East State and during a winter season, with the 2022 edition host nation Qatar being dubbed the weakest ever as they lost to South American side Ecuador 2-0 in the opening match at Al Bayt Stadium, courtesy of a brace by the latter’s captain Enner Valencia. Qatar also became the first host nation in the history of the World Cup to lose its opening match during the tournament.
The second match of the tournament saw teams from Group B went on for an eight-goal thriller, with one of the favourites and the third runner-up in 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as last year’s UEFA Euro runner-up England hit past Iran 6-2.
Jude Bellingham’s First International Goal Came in the Biggest Stage
England’s breakthrough came in the 35th minute, where Manchester United’s left-back Luke Shaw whipped in a delicious cross for the teenage sensation and Borussia Dortmund’s central midfielder Jude Bellingham to head in his first international goal for England, after making his senior debut back in 2020.
Bellingham’s goal saw him becoming the second teenager to score for England in a World Cup, and the first after Michael Owen’s terrific World Cup campaign in 1998. The 19-year-old has scored nine goals in 22 appearances for Borussia Dortmund this season, and he seemed to have transferred his good form to the quadrennial tournament and ready to wheel England forward in this edition after so many injury worries to the Three Lions midfield.
Three Goals in Each Half for the Three Lions, Saka Bagged a Brace
Bellingham’s goal kickstarted a scoring spree for England, with another in-form player, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka becoming England’s third youngest player to score in a World Cup after a brace against the Iranians, while past and present players from the Manchester clubs, namely Sterling, Rashford and Grealish also each contributed a goal to England’s flying start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
A Much Needed Opening Game Win for Southgate and England
Many have called for Gareth Southgate’s sacking as the England coach after six winless games in the UEFA Nations League; Mainstream media have also predicted that Southgate will be ousted out by England Football Association regardless of the Three Lions’ performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Therefore, a convincing victory like this against a World Cup opponent could be vital for Southgate’s managerial career and England’s chances in this edition.
During the thrashing win against Iran, the England team was firing on all cylinders with five scorers and without their captain Harry Kane scoring any of the six goals. These showed diversities as well as rich in attacking options that the Three Lions need, something that FIFA World Cup champions have had in the past.
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(Photo Credits: Rueters)