Will England make a winning start to their World Cup campaign in Al-Rayyan?
The Three Lions have won just three of their last eight World Cup opener, but did beat Tunisia four years ago, going onto reach the semi-finals in Russia.
Since then, Gareth Southgate has led his country to their first major final in 55 years, where they were agonisingly beaten by Italy on penalties at Euro 2020.
So, expectations should be sky-high, but the fact England failed to win any of their six Nations League games in June or September has festered more concern than optimism.
Nevertheless, focus is now on just England’s second World Cup match against Asian opposition; the other a narrow 1-0 victory over Kuwait at Spain ‘82.
This one is likely to be just as low-scoring, as that’s essentially IR Iran’s whole vibe under returning manager Carlos Queiroz.
He led Iran in Brazil and Russia but, since the tournament in 2018, has endured unsuccessful spells in charge of both Colombia and Egypt.
In 2014 and 2018, Iran’s six World Cup games witnessed just nine goals, but they did secure their first victory this century four years ago, beating Morocco in Saint Petersburg.
This time round, Team Melli supporters are hopeful that their side can get out of their group for the first time ever.
Can Iran cause a massive upset at Khalifa International Stadium, or will England, just about, have too much quality?
England team news
England are sweating over the fitness of both Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, the latter has played just one minute in the Premier League for Manchester City.
Walker is defiantly going to miss this opener, meaning, with Reece James also out, Kieran Trippier is next in line to the right-back throne.
In a game where England are likely to have >75% possession, Gareth Southgate will deploy a back four.
However, in front of it will be a midfield trio of Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips (if fit) and Jude Bellingham.
Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling look set to get the nod further forward, chosen over Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and others.
If Harry Kane scores in this one, he’d become England’s record scorer at major tournaments with 11.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Trippier, Maguire, Stones, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Bellingham, Saka, Sterling; Kane.
IR Iran team news
Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand holds the world-record for longest throw ever recored in a football match, chucking the ball 66.7 yards against Korea Republic in 2016.
While Iran are all about defensive solidity, their most notable players will form the front three.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, once of Brighton, Bayer Leverkusen’s Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi of Porto are a dangerous trio.
Taremi has 27 international goals to his name, scoring five in five UEFA Champions League appearances this season.
Hull City’s Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, who wouldn’t have started anywhere, is out injured.
Predicted XI (4-1-4-1): Beiranvand; Moharrami, Kanaanizadegan, Hosseini, Hajsafi; Ezatolahi, Nourollahi, Karimi, Jahanbakhsh, Azmoun; Taremi.