England made an impressive start to their World Cup campaign on Monday as Gareth Southgate’s side thrashed Iran 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Gareth Bale’s late penalty secured Wales a 1-1 draw with the United States in the other game in Group B, while there was also victory for the Netherlands over Senegal.
Here, the PA news agency rounds up events in Qatar.
Saka shines for emphatic England
Teenager Jude Bellingham opened the scoring with his maiden Three Lions goal, and Raheem Sterling and substitutes Marcus Rashford – another who missed a penalty in the Euros final – and Jack Grealish also netted.
Mehdi Taremi scored twice, firstly to make it 4-1 and then a consolation penalty deep into stoppage time, for an Iran side that poignantly stood in silence during the national anthem in a stand of solidarity with those being mistreated, imprisoned and killed protesting in the country for gender equality.
Bale Wales’ saviour
The skipper converted the penalty, awarded when he was fouled by Tim Ream, past Matt Turner to take his international record to 41 goals in 109 games, a joint caps record for the men’s team as he moved alongside unused substitute Chris Gunter.
That cancelled out Timothy Weah’s 36th-minute strike for the US in what was Wales’ first match at a World Cup for 64 years.
The rainbow-coloured anti-discrimination armband had been set to be a strong statement in a country which criminalises same-sex relationships, but the fear of players picking up bookings saw teams make a late U-turn.
England captain Harry Kane – who instead wore FIFA’s ‘no discrimination’ armband, which is not rainbow coloured – said: “We’re disappointed. We wanted to wear it, that decision was taken out of my hands. I turned up to the stadium with the armband that I wore and I was told I had to wear that.”
There was condemnation of FIFA’s decision by the Football Supporters’ Association and Kick It Out, while ex-England defender Alex Scott wore the rainbow armband in a pre-match segment on the BBC.
There was then further controversy early on in the match as Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand collided face first with team-mate Majid Hosseini and was initially allowed to continue playing before leaving on a stretcher.
The decision to let Beiranvand – who Iran boss Carlos Queiroz said had suffered a “serious concussion” – play on was branded an “utter disgrace” by brain injury charity Headway. FIFA said its “comprehensive concussion protocol”, which is based on a “suspect and protect” credo, had been implemented in relation to the player.
In Group A, the Netherlands defeated Senegal 2-0 thanks to late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen.
Gakpo put Louis Van Gaal’s men in front in the 84th minute and substitute Klaassen added a stoppage-time effort as the Dutch matched the score from Ecuador’s win over Qatar in the group’s opening match on Sunday.
Messi on his fitness as Ronaldo makes surprise appearance
The 35-year-old captain told a press conference: “I’m very well physically, good condition. I have no issues whatsoever. I heard there were rumours about having to miss part of the training, or training apart from the team because of a blow – no, it was just precautions, nothing strange or out of the ordinary.”
There was also a surprise press conference appearance by Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo as he made his first public comments since his criticisms of Manchester United in an interview with Piers Morgan.
In quotes reported by the Daily Telegraph, the 37-year-old, whose team face Ghana on Thursday in Group H, insisted the matter had not overshadowed Portugal’s World Cup preparations, saying: “The atmosphere is excellent, no problems, we are completely focused.
“You can help by not talking about me. I’m completely bullet-proof and iron-clad. If you ask other players about Cristiano Ronaldo, I would be upset.”
On the timing of the interview, Ronaldo added: “Timing is always timing. I don’t have to worry about what others think. I talk when I want to. The group is very bonded together. I have no doubt this recent episode, it won’t shape the team.”
Tuesday’s games also include defending champions France – who had Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema withdraw from their squad due to injury – taking on Australia in Group D.
Picture of the day
Who’s up next?
Group C: Argentina v Saudi Arabia (1000, ITV1), Mexico v Poland (1600, BBC One)
Group D: Denmark v Tunisia (1300, ITV1), France v Australia (1900, BBC One)