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Bukayo Saka shone in first tournament game since Euro 2020 penalty miss

Josh Lawless

| Last updated 

Bukayo Saka shone in first tournament game since Euro 2020 penalty miss

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.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

It could have taken a huge mental toll on Saka, who was also the victim of vile online racist abuse alongside Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.

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.

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.

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.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

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.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy & BBC

Topics: Bukayo Saka, Arsenal, England

Josh Lawless
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