Fans enjoy England World Cup opener from South Shields FC's 1st Cloud Arena as Three Lions score six against Iran amid OneLove armband row

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Football fans cheered on England from South Shield FC’s 1st Cloud Arena as the Three Lions opened their World Cup campaign by smashing six past Iran.

England strolled to success in their opening game with a 6-2 victory against their opponents, thanks to goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish.

A number of fans took in the Three Lions opening game at the home of South Shields FC, the 1st Cloud arena, inside the ground's new stand.

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Fans took advantage of a free food offer, which will be in place for every England game of the World Cup.

England fans in South Shields celebrated six of the best against Iran at South Shields FCEngland fans in South Shields celebrated six of the best against Iran at South Shields FC
England fans in South Shields celebrated six of the best against Iran at South Shields FC
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Operations Director at South Shields FC, Carl Mowatt, was delighted with the turnout for the match and has high hopes for how England will do in the tournament.

He said: “We’ve got the bar open today and we’re going to have it open for every England game for people to come along and enjoy the football and a free half-time food.

"In my opinion, I’d love to see England go all the way and I definitely think we can get to the first knockout round, but after that it just depends who we get.”

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Fans celebrate England's goals against IranFans celebrate England's goals against Iran
Fans celebrate England's goals against Iran

Speaking before the game, Ben Shields, 38, from South Shields, correctly predicted Jude Bellingham would get on the scoresheet.

He said: “I’ve been coming to a few matches here because I’m local so thought I’d pop down today and bring the kids instead of sitting in the house.”

On the topic of the tournament being held in Qatar, Ben believed focus should be on football, not politics.

He added: “It’s just spoiling it. I watched the game yesterday and the BBC just ruined it. I just want to enjoy the football.

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Fans watching England vs Iran at the 1st Cloud Arena, South ShieldsFans watching England vs Iran at the 1st Cloud Arena, South Shields
Fans watching England vs Iran at the 1st Cloud Arena, South Shields

Ahead of the tie, the FA revealed it had scrapped plans to allow players to wear ‘OneLove’ armbands in support of LGBTQ+ rights following threats of “sporting sanctions including bookings” by tournament organiser FIFA.

Also speaking before the match, Malcolm Seyers, from County Durham said: “I have a feeling this is going to be Argentina's year. I hate saying this but I fear England have had our glory time.

"I think we’ll make it out the group but I can’t see us getting much further than that.

"I’m not happy about Qatar hosting. The whole influence of money in the game concerns me. Nearly everyone of the FIFA committee members who voted for Qatar have either been sacked or banned from the game which tells you everything you need to know.”

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Operations Director at South Shields FC, Carl MowattOperations Director at South Shields FC, Carl Mowatt
Operations Director at South Shields FC, Carl Mowatt

After the match, fans praised the performance of Bukayo Saka, who managed to score two goals in his first ever World Cup game.

Craig Caego, 47, from South Shields, said: “It was a tidy performance but I think we should have shot more, if we pushed up further it could have been double figures.

"Saka was my Mam of The Match and I think we can make the semi-finals.”

This was echoed by Jimmy Moss, 63, also from South Shields, who added he would have preferred a 6-1 final scoreline.

England’s next World Cup game is against the USA, on Friday, November 25.

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