World Cup 2022 briefing: big guns join the party on day two

Composite: GuardianThe main event

Following that curious opening match between Qatar and Ecuador, with its emptying seats, curiously elated home fans, and the sense the South Americans rather stepped off the gas, England should be involved in the World Cup’s first genuine contest.

Carlos Queiroz is remembered on English soil as the coach who taught Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United how to defend. His Iran team now follow along the same lines, and will attempt to make it very difficult for Gareth Southgate’s men. Even if he has a great deal of affection for English players – “they’re really brilliant, great and fantastic attitude all the time” – a dour, dog of a game cannot be ruled out.

History beckons elsewhere. Monday’s opener deserves lower billing behind Wales’s return to the World Cup stage for the first time since 1958, when they kick off against the USA at the Al-Rayyan Stadium in the late game. The last World Cup finals goal scored against Wales came…

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This article was written by John Brewin, Will Unwin, Luke McLaughlin and Niall McVeigh and originally published on