England dominated, USA and Wales drew in World Cup Opener

Both matches of World Cup Group B finished on a high note.. England demolished Iran with the score of a tennis set, while USA and Wales leveled after 90 minutes. Let’s take a look back at what happened.

England’s statement game

Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham, and Bukayo Saka in World Cup opener
Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham, and Bukayo Saka celebrated after a goal. Photo Credit: The Sun

The Englishmen headed into their World Cup’s opening game with mouths to silence. The doubters have called out Southgate’s incompetency while mercilessly bashing the players for whatever they do. Iran seems like a comfortable opponent for the Three Lions to prove haters wrong.

With players in the finest forms starting, England immediately dominated the possession game. And the reward came early as Jude Bellingham made the header to open the score and become the 10th youngest player to score in the tournament’s history. Before the official 45 minutes passed, Saka and Sterling beautifully connected two first-touch volleys to make it 3-0. The 14(?!) minutes of added time saw no more goals as the teams headed to the tunnel.

In the second half, England was still in cruise control of the situation, and Saka calmly finished his brace to put them up 4. But Iran showed some excellent fighting spirit. Taremi, with the first-touch finish of his own, scored Iran’s first goal. England didn’t try to stop there. Two determined Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish each slotted one in. That still wasn’t the game’s last goal, as Taremi completed his brace from the spot after a little harsh decision from the referee. Match ended 6-2 in favor of the Three Lions.

Battle for second heating up?

Tim Weah scored in World Cup opener
Tim Weah scored USA’s first goal. Photo Credit: Sporting News

The direct battle for second between USA and Wales kicked off latest today. Appointing 23-year-old Tyler Adams as captain raised some eyebrows from the fan. Combined with the criticism towards Gregg Berhalter, it is not favorable for Team USA. Wales was flying high with Robert Page, too. 

But the first half of the match showed otherwise. The rejuvenated midfield of Adams, Musa, and McKennie dominated the game, not allowing Wales any significant chances to advance the ball. The fruit is soon ripe. From a Wales player’s sloppy play, Captain America Christian Pulisic dispossessed and placed a lovely through ball to Tim Weah. A cooly dispatched finish put the American up top at the half. Like father, like son!

Wales had no chance but to attack in the second half. The Americans slowed down, defending and waiting for counter-attacking opportunities. Kieffer Moore’s appearance gave USA’s defenders a hard time with his size. But not only did Wales struggle to create a legit chance, they almost paid the price for pushing their team up too high. In times of trouble, the Welsh again called for one man, Gareth Bale. The former Real Madrid player received the ball with the back facing the goal. Zimmerman carelessly fouled him, leading to a penalty. And from the spot, the captain beat Matt Turner to level the game for good. Match ended 1-1. A draw both teams can be satisfied with. USA displayed a out-of-this-world performance, while Wales pulled off a crucial comeback!

Gareth Bale scored in World Cup opener
Gareth Bale scored the penalty. Photo Credit: Hindustan Times

Possible World Cup Group B outcome

It is pretty rare to see Iran concede this many in a game. In the previous two World Cups, they only conceded 6, the same amount they did today. What I’m trying to say is do not count out Iran just yet. They are still a formidable opponent. England is still the overwhelming favorite for the top of the group. 

Meanwhile, a draw in the direct battle means both teams will have to make the most out of their next two fixtures: getting points against England and scoring many goals against Iran. This table is still a toss-up among all teams. There will be some enjoyable games for the fans on Matchday 2 and 3. The edge will still be on Gregg Berhalter and USA’s side after this wonderful performance.

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