Football Features

“Bellingham is special” – Player ratings as England thrash Iran 6-2 in their World Cup opener

By James Amey

Published: 15:54, 21 November 2022 | Updated: 14:49, 23 November 2022

England got their 2022 World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a 6-2 thumping of Iran in Doha. 

Goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka (2), Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish ensured England recorded their biggest ever victory in their opening match at a major tournament. Mehdi Taremi scored two consolation goals for the away side, including a 112th minute penalty in a match that saw a staggering 28 minutes of added on time in total. 

Here’s how the players rated at the Khalifa International Stadium:


Jordan Pickford – 6 – Didn’t have a single thing to do until Mehdi Taremi fired one past him to take away his clean sheet, but did make an impressive save late on. Had no chance with the penalty.

Kieran Trippier – 7-  Impressive set-piece deliveries whilst also being defensively solid. Made a game high total of five tackles, at least two more than any other player, also winning eight of his nine duels.

John Stones – 6 – Gave away a late penalty in what was was mostly a comfortable afternoon for the Man City man.

Harry Maguire – 7 – Was a menace in the opposition box. Had England’s best chance of the first half as his header cannoned off the crossbar, dragged to the floor for a possible penalty and expertly headed it down for Bukayo Saka to fire in the second. Won 100% of his duels (5/5) and didn’t put a foot wrong before being forced off half way through the second half.

Luke Shaw – 7 – Fantastic cross for Jude Bellingham’s opener, constantly getting up and down the left-wing.

Declan Rice – 6 – Kept the ball moving and recycled possession well. Kept it simple.

Jude Bellingham – 9 – What an incredible World Cup debut for the 19-year old. Scored his first ever England goal with a perfect header  and was heavily involved in the build up to third. Constantly driving forward at every opportunity and never stopped running throughout.

Completed 100% of his take-ons, 97% of his 95 passes, won seven duels and made three tackles in a fantastic all round midfield display.

He’s going to be special.

Bukayo Saka – 9 – Absolutely sensational. Scored twice on his World Cup debut with two confident finishes, constantly ran at the Iran defence and chased down tirelessly. Repayed his managers faith in him with a superb display on the world’s biggest stage.

Mason Mount – 6 – Had some nice touches, but probably should have scored in the first half.

Raheem Sterling – 8 – Made sure of the three points with a brilliant finish for England’s third and it was his menacing run that led to the fourth.

Harry Kane – 7 – Five England goals, but none for the captain. Provided two assists for Sterling and Rashford and linked play well, but didn’t really have a glimpse of the Iran goal.


Marcus Rashford (for Saka 71′) – 7 – Scored instantly after coming off the bench with a composed turn and finish. His first World Cup goal.

Eric Dier (for Maguire 71′) – 6 – Completed 100% of his passes, but didn’t have much to do.

Phil Foden (for Mount 71) – 6 – Didn’t really make an impact.

Jack Grealish (for Sterling 71) – 7- 100% duels won, 100% pass accuracy and his first World Cup goal.

Callum Wilson (for Kane 76′) – 7 – Unselfishly laid it on a plate for Jack Grealish after a perfectly timed run.

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Alireza Beiranvand – 5 – Taken off after just 20 minutes after a horrible clash of heads. Shouldn’t have been allowed to continue for as long as he did.

Sadegh Moharrami – 5 – Lost possession as many times as he completed passes (6) and won just one of his five duels.

Roozbeh Cheshmi – 3 – Could have given away a penalty in the first five minutes for a bear hug on Harry Maguire, out-jumped by the same player for England’s second and was all at sea every time the Three Lions attacked. Not surprisingly taken off at HT.

Majid Hosseini – 5 – Lost Jude Bellingham for the opening goal.

Milad Mohammadi – 5 – No ‘roly poly throw-in’.

Ahmad Nourollahi – 5 – Couldn’t get near the England midfield.

Ali Karimi – 5 – Completely bypassed, had just nine touches in the first half before being subbed at the break.

Ehsan Hajsafi – 5 – Anonymous.

Morteza Pouraliganji – 5 – A tough afternoon, but did make five clearances.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh – 4 – Skied Iran’s only chance of the first half, booked for late tackle on Luke Shaw and hooked at HT.

Mehdi Taremi- 7 – Scored with an instinctive finish past Jordan Pickford and made no mistake from the penalty spot


Amir Abedzadeh (for Beiranvand 20′) – 4 – Conceded six goals from the seven shots on target he faced.

Saeid Ezatolahi (for Karimi 46′) – 5 – Tough ask to come on a 3-0 down

Ali Gholizadeh – 6 – (for Jahanbakhsh 46′) – 5 – See Ezatolahi

Hossein Kanaani – 6 –  (for Cheshmi 46′) – 5 – See Ezatolahi

Sardar Azmoun- 5 –  (for Nourollahi 77′) – 6 – Came on late, but did rattle the crossbar.