England enjoyed a dream start to their 2022 World Cup opener against Iran with Gareth Southgate’s side storming straight into a 3-0 halftime lead and finishing with a lopsided 6-1 scoreline.
Despite Carlos Queiroz’s side setting out their rigid defensive shape from the start, England’s young stars lit up the Khalifa International Stadium, with Jude Bellingham heading home his first international goal to get things started.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has emerged as a key player in Southgate’s plans and he expertly nodded home Luke Shaw’s cross after 35 minutes.
That eased England’s nerves ahead of the break, as Bukayo Saka volleyed home his first ever World Cup goal, and Raheem Sterling stabbed away his 20th England goal.
MORE: How England dismantled Iran for first 2022 World Cup victory
England’s youngest goal scorers
Bellingham’s goal opened his account for the Three Lions and capped an impressive first half for the 19-year-old in Doha.
However, despite the excitement surrounding his goal, he only makes it to ninth on the all-time England youngest goal scorer list, with former skipper Wayne Rooney still leading the way (17 years, 317 days).
Bellingham’s goal in the Qatari capital makes him the youngest England goal scorer in any competition since Marcus Rashford in 2016 (aged 18 years, 209 days).
MORE: England World Cup squad for 2022 World Cup
England’s youngest scorer at a World Cup
Bellingham’s goal broke new ground for him as an English international, but he comes in second on the all-time list of England’s World Cup goal scorers.
Michael Owen’s memorable France ’98 tournament remains the benchmark for teenage England goal scorers on the biggest international stage.
Owen came off the bench to score in the 2-1 group stage defeat to Romania (aged 18y 190d) before firing home a memorable goal in the Round of 16 game against Argentina.
Youngest players to score for England at the men’s World Cup:
◎ Michael Owen (18y 190d)
◎ Michael Owen (18y 198d)
◉ Jude Bellingham (19y 145d)
◉ Bukayo Saka (21y 77d)
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 21, 2022
Saka’s goal makes him the third youngest England scorer at a World Cup (21y 77d) on a impressive performance for the Arsenal winger.
Jude Bellingham World Cup goal
The rise of Bellingham from playing in the Birmingham City youth team during the 2018 World Cup, to a star in Qatar, marks out his incredible development.
Watch n UK:
That header 👌
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 21, 2022
Watch in USA:
ENGLAND TAKES THE LEAD
On the biggest stage Jude Bellingham scores his first goal for England 🔥🏴 pic.twitter.com/4TOWEHaMmQ
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 21, 2022
A first England goal was the key takeaway from his first-half performance just as Iran looked to be digging in before the break.
However, his all-around performance in the England engine room justified Southgate’s decision to start him over more experienced options including Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips.
Jude Bellingham’s first World Cup half:
◾️ 40/40 passes completed
◾️ 10/10 passes completed in the final third
◾️ Second youngest English scorer at the World Cup
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) November 21, 2022
Bellingham’s calmness on the ball and ability to drive England forward has made him a guaranteed pick for England since the start of 2022 and he looks set for a key role in the coming games.
Jude Bellingham contract, transfer fee
Bellingham long-term future looks to lie away from Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park next season with major transfer interest in him from Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester City and Champions League holders Real Madrid.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke recently admitted the club will struggle to retain him beyond the 2022/23 campaign, if a major bid arrives for him.
His current contract in Germany runs until 2025 and Dortmund are reportedly prepared to demand in the region of €120m (£105m/$123m) to consider a sale.