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Fifa World Cup group B: England vs. Iran preview, predictions, team news, possible starting XIs

Fifa World Cup group B: England vs. Iran preview, predictions, team news, possible starting XIs

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Don't start out by making things "a little difficult for oneself," but rather "come in last" Prediction: Iran 1 England 2.

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James Maddison, a midfielder, and Kyle Walker, a defender, have both been officially ruled out of the Group B opening, according to Southgate.

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Against West Ham, Maddison, a standout for Leicester City, is battling knee pain.

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For the first time in Southgate's six-year reign, the Three Lions entered the World Cup "under a cloud of negativity," according to Jonathan Gorrie in the London Evening Standard.

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England under Southgate, however, "has never been a team to be judged outside of tournament football," to his credit.

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Iran qualified for the World Cup for a record third time, but according to Dan Ripley of the Daily Mail, they had "no minuses."

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Carlos Queiroz's club, which is ranked 20th in the world, has the "capacity" to pose "trouble" for the Three Lions.