Good morning and صبح بخیر.
England begins its now 56-year quest to win a major trophy against underdog Iran in Qatar at 8 a.m. Eastern.
England will send out a lineup of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford; defenders Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw; midfielders Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice; and forwards Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.
The formidable Premier League trio of Saka, Mount and Sterling will support Kane up front, which should give England a lot of attacking punch.
Iran’s far less familiar lineup is goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand; defenders Morteza Pouraliganji, Roozbeh Cheshmi and Majid Hosseini; midfielders Sadegh Moharrami, Milad Mohammadi, Ahmad Noorollahi, Ali Karimi and Ehsan Hajsafi; and attackers Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Mehdi Taremi.
Expect three at the back and five midfielders, making for what will essentially be a clogged eight-man defense.
Make no mistake, Iran are big underdogs today, a goal and a half in the American sports betting parlance. They would be happy with a draw against last year’s European championship finalists.