World Cup flame cools M’sian politics for football fans

World Cup flame cools M’sian politics for football fans

Sooka’s England vs Iran World Cup watch party relief for politically tired Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR – After the 15th general election (GE15) on November 19, the political state of the nation might make most people hide under their beds and wait for it all to blow over. But not football fans. Because how would you watch the FIFA World Cup from there?

It was a long-awaited start to the 2022 Qatar World Cup on November 20, as the hosts unfortunately lost their opening match against Ecuador, losing 2-0 and making them the first host nation to lose the opening game of the tournament.

Last night, live sports streaming app Sooka hosted a watch party at Homebois Pitstop in Petaling Jaya for the Group B first match between England and Iran, which saw eager fans flock to the venue to catch some of their favourite players kick off.

Speaking to the Vibes, Syazwan Ibrahim, an England supporter, said the timing for the World Cup could not have been better for Malaysians. “To have it (World Cup) start right after polling day was perfect. All the focus was on the election for the past few weeks, but now we can shift the focus to the World Cup.

“It is also good that the match times are in the evening and night, so most of us don’t have to worry about missing matches because of work,” he said. Also present at the event was former national women’s futsal team goalkeeper Niena Azman, who joined in the fun as keeper for the penalty shootout competition.

World Cup fans that showed up for the watch party were treated to footballing delight as England triumphed over opponents Iran 6-2 in the Group B opener at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham opened the scoring sheets for the Three Lions in the 35th minute with a header, not long before 21-year-old Bukayo Saka’s stellar volley doubled the lead in the 43rd minute.

England were three goals up going into half-time after Raheem Sterling’s flick in from a cross found the back of the net in added time. Saka then scored his second goal in the 62nd minute, but Iran were quick to react and scored their first goal by Mehdi Taremi in the 65th minute.

England, who are chasing their second World Cup title since their one-and-only in 1966, were not done and further added to the already impressive score-line, with substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish each scoring their own in the 71st and 90th minute, respectively.

Iran got another consolation foul in the dying minutes of the match in the form of a penalty, which Taremi slotted into the bottom right of the goal, sending England goalkeeper Joran Pickford the wrong way.

England’s next match will be against the United States on November 26, while Iran will take on Wales the day before.

– The Vibes, November 22, 2022

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