World Cup Preview: England v Iran

The FIFA World Cup has a habit of throwing up some very interesting ties indeed. Chief among them this year is likely to be the politically charged Group B. England taking on Iran is a match that comes with some very intriguing political and cultural connotations.

While there is no real debate about who is the ‘better’ side out of the two, England have come unstuck against similarly motivated opponents in the past. Iran come into this in a bit of a conundrum themselves, but they are coached by well-loved former coach Carlos Queiroz. This has all of the makings of a classic FIFA World Cup tie, with two teams who are arriving in Qatar with very different expectations.

While England have dreams of lifting the famous trophy, Iran simply want to get to the knockout rounds. It would be a huge achievement, and the similar level of all three opponents outside of England does make an exit from the group more likely than one would first assume.

Who will win this tie?

That being said, England have made a habit of starting well at tournaments under Gareth Southgate. They come into this one expecting a tough match no doubt. The main worry definitely comes upfront; Iran striker Mehdi Taremi is a lethal forward and has been prolific for FC Porto both in Europe and in the domestic league.

England are a bit shaky at the back, but if they can overcome their defensive lapses at the back they should be fine here. Iran boast no real discernible quality further back in the team, and England should have enough pace, invention, and midfield technique to control the game and win with comfort.


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