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Sport Preview: World Cup 2022 - Monday 21st Nov 2022

World Cup Previews: Mon 21st Nov

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Selections

England vs Iran: Mon 21st Nov, 1:00pm

England fans will no doubt be looking for a thumping Group B win when the Three Lions open their World Cup and face Iran on Monday afternoon.

Gareth Southgate, though, will be well aware that Iran will be no pushovers after reaching the finals in four of the last seven attempts.

Carlos Queiroz’s men have yet to get out of the group stage, but in Qatar they will be quietly confident of bucking that trend.

The troubled nation are the outsiders of four in the group, but they may give England, the USA and Wales plenty to think about.

We expect England to get the job done at the Khalifa International Stadium, but it will not be the cakewalk that many fans expect.

Three of England’s last five tournament openers have gone under 2.5 goals – the 1-0 win over Croatia (2020), 1-1 draw with Russia (2016) and the 1-1 draw with France (2012).

The other two games were a 2-1 win over Tunisia (2018) and 2-1 loss to Italy (2014).

Traditionally England do not start well. And against a well-drilled Iranian side we can expect a low-scoring game.

Iran will be without injured defensive midfielder Omid Ebrahimi, but they do have a number of players who play in Europe.

Porto centre-forward Mehdi Taremi scored the winner in the recent 1-0 win over Uruguay, a game in which little-seen Brentford midfielder Saman Ghoddos impressed.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Sardar Azmoun is also a threat, while defender Sadegh Moharramim helped Dinamo Zagreb beat Chelsea earlier this season.

Iran, though, are an ageing team. The squad’s average age is almost 29, compared with 27 and three months for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Still, they are expected to provide resilient opposition and with Queiroz saying his players are “free to protest” over women’s rights in their home country, it’s difficult to predict whether they will be solely football focused.

But for an England side, who might just take some time to get back into the tournament groove, it could be heavy going in the baking Doha heat (4pm local time).


Senegal vs Netherlands: Mon 21st Nov, 4:00pm

The Netherlands missed out in 2018, but they will be back with a bang in Qatar and look destined for a place in the last 16.

They have never been eliminated in the group stage in 10 previous World Cup appearances and they were slightly unfortunate to go out in the round of 16 at the 2020 Euros.

They cruised through the group but came unstuck when Matthijs de Ligt got red carded and lost 2-0 to the Czech Republic.

With Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie De Jong, Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay in their ranks they should have enough to sink a Senegal side missing Sadio Mane through injury.

Senegal, who are the Africa Cup of Nations holders, drew 1-1 with Iran recently in a warm-up game and they are 5/1 to cause a shock.

However, without Mane, Aliou Cisse’s men will struggle and Louis van Gaal’s charges should open up at the Al Thumama Stadium with a win.



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