And English fans are already setting the highest of expectations.
Bukaya Saka scored two goals to lead England to a resounding 6-2 win over Iran to open Group B play in Qatar. Saka’s World Cup debut was particularly cathartic after he and fellow goalscorer Marcus Rashford were subjected to hateful, racist messages for missing penalties in the Euro final against Italy.
Despite the objectively strong tournament performances, coach Gareth Southgate has been a target of criticism among England supporters. Some of the criticism has to do with his support of kneeling in protest of racial injustices, which England before kickoff against Iran.
After this performance, it’s safe to say there’s reason for fans to affirm their belief in Southgate and dream of winning the World Cup.
“England fans, get behind the team,” FOX analyst and England native Warren Barton said. “Support the team, support the coach, and we might even bring it home.”
England was the favorite to win Group B against Iran, United States and Wales. For the rest of the tournament, they certainly won’t be overlooked by any opponent.
“You have to say they’re the favorites — or one of the favorites, at this point,” FOX analyst Landon Donovan said on the broadcast.
England’s next match is against the USMNT on Friday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 21, 2022
Unbelievable performance from England!! Loved that
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) November 21, 2022
Great start to the World Cup.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) November 21, 2022
6!!!! Wowza. #ENGIRN
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 21, 2022
Them: “It’s just the first game, don’t get carried away.”
Literally everybody in England: pic.twitter.com/RBIpZmivyl
— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) November 21, 2022
Jude Bellingham’s game by numbers vs. Iran:
100% dribbles completed
97% pass accuracy
92 passes completed
6/8 ground duels won
3/3 tackles won tackles won
1 key pass
Midfield maestro. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/eMG0E01ZP7
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 21, 2022
The football England are playing right now 😨😨😨
— Joe Thomlinson (@joethomlinson) November 21, 2022
— suhuvespa (@suhuvespa) November 21, 2022