England vs Iran
This is a group that England should come through without too much of an issue.
An opening game against Iran presents the perfect opportunity to get three points on the board before slightly more difficult games against USA and Wales.
Iran have never progressed through the group stages of the World Cup in its current format and they’ve only ever won twice at the tournament.
England’s array of attacking talent and now big tournament experience, should be enough to get a straight-forwards win today.
I’m confident in Bellingham getting the nod here to play in midfield alongside Declan Rice. It’d be criminal for Southgate to consider Kalvin Phillips against an inferior opponent and given the fact that he’s hardly played at club level.
Anyway, I think there’s tonnes of value in Bellingham shots against Iran because they operate in a low block and counter attacking style. It’s likely that they’ll sit in to frustrate England, and this scenario is perfect for someone like Bellingham to shoot from range.
Bellingham averaged 2.40 shots per 90 minutes during World Cup qualifying with 0.80 on target.
The Dortmund man has become much more of a goal threat recently. For instance, he’s had a shot on target in 12 of his last 16 matches in all competitions for club and country. And you’ll have seen in the Champions League, he made history by scoring in four successive matches as a teenager.
The third and final name in my bet builder is Iran’s Sadegh Mohrrami to be carded.
Mohrrami is a right-back who plays for Dinamo Zagreb domestically, I think he could well be in for a long 90 minutes. He could be up against Phil Foden who’s tricky and good at drawing fouls. Plus there’s the chance that Jack Grealish makes an appearance from the bench, a man who draws 2.79 fouls P/90.
During AFC World Cup qualifying, Sadegh Mohrrami was Iran’s most carded players. He picked up 4 yellows and a red in 12 appearances.
He was booked twice during the six Champions League group stage matches, including in the last one against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.