Bukayo Saka shone in first tournament game since Euro 2020 penalty miss
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Bukayo Saka had the perfect response to his Euro 2020 penalty miss, shining in what was his first ever World Cup game as England thrashed Iran 6-2.
The Arsenal star was in tears at Wembley in July 2021 when his crucial spot-kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and gave Italy the win on penalties.
But he responded tremendously with a slew of excellent displays for Arsenal, becoming utterly unplayable for Mikel Arteta's side.
And in his first tournament outing since that miss, Saka stepped up to the mark with a superb brace in the Group B opener.
498 days ago, Bukayo Saka suffered racial abuse online for missing a penalty in the Euros final.— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 21, 2022
Now, he has a brace in England's World Cup opener ❤️ pic.twitter.com/f3ntVXihbC
He smashed in his first World Cup goal after a Harry Maguire knockdown from a corner to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute and then added a second in the 62nd minute.
The 21-year-old now has more World Cup goals than Wayne Rooney and hasn't even played a full 90 minutes in the tournament.
There were some people who wanted Phil Foden to get the nod on the right flank but Saka's performance, full of energy and quality, more than justified the decision from Gareth Southgate.
Bukayo Saka vs. Iran:— Connor Humm (@TikiTakaConnor) November 21, 2022
70 minutes played
3 shots (100% accuracy)
23 passes (82.1% accuracy)
1 key pass
2 fouls won
What a World Cup debut. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/0rttys4PRM
Bukayo Saka deserves this moment 🤩 pic.twitter.com/mJBoJMv9O5— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 21, 2022
Saka is such a special talent but he also comes across as an incredibly likable human being and one who absolutely deserved his redemption on Monday.
Hearts were full seeing the youngster's beaming smile after finding the net in both halves.
He has made further history in becoming the first Arsenal player to score for England in the World Cup since Sol Campbell in 2002.
Saka was taken taken off with the score at 4-1 and replaced by Rashford, who got on the scoresheet with what was virtually his first touch.
Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling Jack Grealish were also on target for the Three Lions, while Mehdi Taremi scored twice including a late consolation penalty.
Speaking after the game, Saka described his World Cup debut as a "very special day" and urged for consistency going into the second group clash with the United States on Friday.