England picked up a comfortable 6-2 win over Iran to kick off their World Cup campaign in Qatar, amid off-the-pitch “carnage” for some fans trying to enter the stadium.
Jude Bellingham’s 35th-minute header silenced the raucous Iranian fans inside Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium, before England extended their lead through goals from Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling.
Saka’s second and goals from Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish sealed the win.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing off the pitch as several fans heading to the Group B game faced ticketing issues as they tried to enter the stadium, with part of the game missing.
Concerns have also been raised about the availability of food in the stadium.
As the 4 p.m. local time kick-off approached, some fans were frantically refreshing the official ticketing mobile app on their phones in an attempt to load their QR code.
It left them enduring stressful and frustrating times, with a group of England fans also seen arguing with officials as they were told the queue entrance was closed and repeatedly moved to another hall.
An England fan said he should have ‘just used paper tickets’ and criticized the stadium layout.
A Palestinian Authority News Agency reporter heading to a ticket found that his ticket app only started working about 60 seconds before he reached the start of the queue, n failed to work in the previous two hours.
Fifa acknowledged that some fans were having problems while Free Lions, the Football Supporters’ Association team which provides travel and logistical advice to fans, also offered advice.
Ali Azarian, 42, a Singapore-based Iranian-British man who said he had “divided loyalties” for the game, went into the ground about five minutes before halftime.
He said he arrived three hours before kick-off but the tickets “disappeared” from the Fifa app.
He told PA: “At the gate they wouldn’t let us in even though we had the email confirmations.
“They sent us to a liaison office with the tickets, then they sent us to a Fifa tent where there were about 500 people.
“We queued for ages, there was a lot of controversy because someone from Fifa came out and told people they could use email to get back in the queue .
“These people left the queue and they were told the same thing we were told and they came back, so it was just carnage.
“We hung on, eventually they started handwriting tickets, they printed tickets and they handwritten our seats, then everyone was sprinting to the ground.
“There were probably at least 100 people behind me.”
Wales face the United States on Monday night as they experience their first World Cup final since 1958.