While England might have endured a public struggle when opening this year’s World Cup adventure, the Three Lions laid down what was a stellar marker in Doha on Monday afternoon.
Although some might have feared that Gareth Southgate’s side could face a potential banana skin when opening their Group B run, the European giants breezed their way to a thumping 6-2 romp against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Tipped as a standout pick to cruise their way to the knockout stage without breaking much of a sweat, goals from Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and a Bukayo Saka brace clinched an empathic victory for England.
Putting in a performance that would have certainly been noted by camps across Qatar, we have taken a look at the main talking points as Southgate’s side made quite the statement in Doha.
While England might have enjoyed what was a clinical start to their World Cup adventure in Doha, there is no doubt that Southgate will still be seeking some defensive stability from his side over the next month.
Losing their elite Nations League status and gaining somewhat of a reputation for their issues at the back, England were frustrated to have once again been breached on Monday afternoon.
With Manchester United defender Harry Maguire failing to gain much first-team action over recent weeks, the Three Lions were left exposed on a handful of occasions throughout the second-half.
Along with watching Mehdi Taremi bag his own famous brace in Doha after returning from the interval, England were also lucky as Bayer Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun saw his late effort rebound off the crossbar.
Although the mood in England’s camp will rightfully be at a red-hot high following their clinical Group B opener, Southgate will know that his side must find a way to plug their leaky defence after recording just a single clean sheet from their previous seven appearances.