World Cup Review | Day 2 | England thrash Iran, Netherlands leave it late while Wales and USA share the spoils

There was 12 goals shared between the three fixtures that took place on the second day of the 2022 World Cup.

The festival of football is well and truly underway with day two of the FIFA World Cup providing plenty of goals, VAR drama as well as a questionable amount of added time.

Following on from Sunday’s opener between Ecuador and Qatar, Monday was the first day to feature multiple games with England’s clash with Iran kicking off at 1pm, the Netherlands at 4pm while the USA and Wales rounded off the night with a 7pm kick-off

And the English certainly kicked things off in style.

England 6 – 2 Iran

It was a routine game in the end for England who got their tournament underway in impressive fashion with a 6-2 thumping of Iran.

Harry Maguire was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI for England but he made his presence felt immediately, being a nuisance at set-pieces and was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the opening five minutes after being dragged down in the box.

England dominated the early exchanges and the game was halted for a considerable amount of time following a clash of heads between the Iranian goalkeeper and his defender. After receiving treatment for close to ten minutes, he was finally forced off.

Moments later, a Luke Shaw cross was met by 19-year-old Jude Bellingham, who nodded England into the lead on his first World Cup appearance.

It was the first of many for England as a delightful Bukayo Saka volley doubled their lead eight minutes later and it was three in a matter of minutes when Raheem Sterling latched onto the end of a Harry Kane cross. Following the stoppage, there was 14 minutes added on and England finally went into the interval with a 3-0 lead.

England were slowing down the game in the second half as it looked as if the tie was already finished and Saka added another to his tally with a placed finish following some nice footwork to put the Three Lions out of sight.

Against the run of play, Mehdi Taremi fired over Jordan Pickford for a consolation goal but their four-goal lead was restored as Marcus Rashford got his name on the scoresheet just seconds after coming off the bench. Fellow substitutes Jack Grealish and Callum Wilson combined for England’s sixth, with the latter unselfishly laying it off the Grealish to slot into a half-empty net.

There was still time for VAR drama as Iran were awarded a penalty for more or less the same foul that was made on Harry Maguire in the first half. Taremi doubled his tally as England saw out the rest of the game to get their campaign off to the perfect start.

Netherlands 2-0 Senegal

In what was minutes away from being the first 0-0 of the tournament after three games, the Netherlands finally found way past the Senegalese defence to give them a 2-0 victory.

The Dutch were sloppy throughout the first half and came close on two occasions but were too late to pull the trigger both times as a frustrating first half drew to a close as Senegal looked the stronger of the two to begin with.

The second-half continued in the same vein with chances few and far between despite the general run of play being end-to-end with Ismaila Sarr causing headaches for the Dutch full-backs but failing to deliver.

Eventually, with five minutes left in normal time, Frenkie de Jong’s looping cross was met by Cody Gakpo, who beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and headed home to give his side the advantage.

Eight minutes were added on, despite there not being many lengthy stoppages in the game and instead of Senegal finding an equaliser, the Dutch doubled their lead with Davy Klaassen after an impressive counter-attack to give the Netherlands the three points.

Wales 1-1 USA

As expected, there was nothing to separate both the USA and Wales as they saw out a 1-1 draw in the final game of the day.

A cagey opening saw two yellow cards in the opening fifteen minutes for the USA after a couple of late tackles, which was the theme of this game as both sides were guilty for it throughout the game.

On 36 minutes, 21-year-old Timothy Weah scored on his first World Cup appearance when he latched onto a Christian Pulisic through ball to slot past Wayne Hennessy in goal.

Wales were sloppy and disjointed throughout the first half and could’ve conceded more than one but began to come alive in the second half following the introduction of Kieffer Moore.

They continued to trouble Matt Turner in goal but he pulled of some impressive saves to keep his clean sheet but his biggest test would come on the 80th minute as Gareth Bale was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty. The spot-kick was converted by the Wales captain himself, with Matt Turner getting fingertips to his effort and there was still ten minutes to find a winner.

The game continued in its end-to-end fashion in the final stages and despite an abundance of added time, there was nothing to separate the sides as they both settled for a point, a fair result.

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