England World Cup tips: Harry Kane to hit the ground running against Iran

England kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday, and Tipstrr football expert Sergiu Baltuta is looking to Harry Kane to repeat his 2018 heroics and give his team a winning start.

England play Iran in their first ever international meeting when they kick off their 2022 World Cup campaign in Doha on Monday afternoon.

England will be at their 16th World Cup finals, while Iran have reached the tournament on five previous occasions without ever progressing beyond the group stage.

England boss Gareth Southgate has come under fire recently for some sub-standard performances, afer results had always been on his side since being appointed as the Three Lions' head coach. 

However, on recent evidence, England's semi-final appearance at the 2018 World Cup, their dramatic penalty shootout loss to Italy at the 2020 Euros, and even the ease in which they qualified for these finals, seem like a distant memory.

A disappointing Nations League campaign this year saw England manage just three draws and three defeats in a group including Italy, Hungary and Germany, a woeful series of results that saw them relegated to League B.

To settle doubts and nerves, England will be looking to captain Harry Kane to hit the ground running like he did in Russia, where he scored five goals in their first two games. 

He's almost even money to score at any time, while it would surprise few of us to see him bag the first goal, especially as England's penalty taker.

On the other side Iran were the first team to qualify from their Asian group, with coach Carlos Queiroz seeing his team pip South Korea for top spot. The 69-year-old Portuguese manager has plenty of experience, having managed Portugal and Colombia at international level, as well as spending one season as manager of Real Madrid back in 2003/2004.

Given the gulf in class and strength in depth, England will no doubt dominate possession, but the trick will be to make that count in dangerous areas against an Iranian side that is likely to set up defensively and look to stifle England's play in front of Iran's own back line.

This approach served Iran well in 2018 when their three group games against Morocco (1-0), Spain (0-1) and Portugal (1-1) produced just four goals, so England fans might need to exercise some patience if the game isn't opened up by an early goal.

Match result wise, the value gap between the two teams is obviously huge (on paper, at least) and while England should dominate, they offer little value to win at odds of 1/3.

A handicap bet looks a better option, but maybe the most attractive match-result bet of any value is for England to win to nil, assuming they don't get caught napping at the back.

England's possible starting XI: Pickford - Stones, Maguire, Dier - Trippier, Rice, Bellingham, Shaw - Mount, Kane, Sterling;

Iran's possible starting XI: Beiranvand - E. Hajsafi, H. Kanaani, M. Hosseini, S. Moharrami - A. Jahanbakhsh, Nourollahi, S. Ezatolahi, Gholizadeh - M. Taremi, S. Azmoun;

Sergiu Baltuta provides football tips as SVB Tips on Tipstrr

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