Gareth Southgate warns England will need to improve despite emphatic World Cup victory

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England manager Gareth Southgate has warned his players their World Cup progress in Qatar will be stunted early unless they weed out the slack that crept in towards the end of Monday’s stunning win over England. ‘Iran.

The Three Lions picked up a memorable 6-2 win over normally stubborn opponents Carlos Queiroz in Monday’s Group B opener at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The brilliant Bukayo Saka hit a brace on a night when Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish also found the net as England went wild at Al Rayyan.

Southgate congratulated their players after a victory which also came with a caution ahead of Friday’s game against the United States as Mehdi Taremi scored two consolation goals.

“We are really delighted to start the tournament in this way and really happy with our attacking play,” he said after Taremi’s stoppage time penalty prevented England from equaling their winning record. in the World Cup.

“We know Iran are usually very difficult to play against, so it’s a credit to our players – their movement, the quality of their passing, the quality of our finishing.

“I didn’t like the end of the game. To concede two goals like we did is not the level we need.

“So we’ll have to be better than we were today in some aspects of our game against the United States, because they’re going to come and get us at full throttle, and we’re going to have to reset ourselves.

“I don’t like games that drift like this and it was difficult because there was so much extra time in both halves, so I understand the focus drifts a bit, but that won’t be enough. not for us to progress in the tournament.

I didn’t like the end of the game. Conceding two goals like we did is not the level we need

Gareth Southgate

“So we still have a lot to do to qualify, but of course it’s a really, really good start for us.”

England take on neighbors Wales after taking on the United States on Friday, a game for which Southgate expects skipper Harry Kane to be available.

England fans had their hearts in their mouths at the start of the second half when the 29-year-old grabbed his right foot in pain after being caught up in a desperate challenge from Morteza Pouraliganji.

“I think Harry is fine,” Southgate said of Kane, who reportedly came off the ground limping slightly and his right ankle slightly bound.

“I mean, it looked like a bad tackle, but he carried on into the game and we took him off, really, because we felt it was a time when we could do it.”

Another concern was defender Harry Maguire, who left the pitch looking groggy after a positive performance.

“He felt bad,” Southgate said of the Manchester United captain. “He had kind of signaled it just before the goal. Given the state of the game, we didn’t think it was worth continuing.

“So other than that, I didn’t see anything to worry about.

“It was good to have been able to refresh the attacking line – not just to get the players out, but to get the other boys in, because there are very tight decisions as to who starts in those positions.

“We have fabulous talent. We knew we had players who, if we were to change the game, could come into the game and make an impact.

“So on days like this you wish you could change more because every time you pick a team you have 11 who are happy and, with the size of the teams now, 15 who might react differently.

“But I have to say the reaction when I named the team, when we were working with the team, was great.

“They clashed, but they supported each other and we have to continue like this now.

“We work with a group of players who are hungry to play, it’s a pleasure to work with them.

“They have humility, but they also think about it and it’s unusual to have a group like ours.

“They’ve been great all week. We weren’t surprised that they played well today because the whole team was very good from the moment we met.

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at