Iran's football team chose not to sing the country's national anthem before the match against England ©Getty Images

Iran's football team chose not to sing the country's national anthem prior to playing England at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The players stood in silence in what appeared to be a show of support for protests in Iran which have followed the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini in September.

The anthem was also booed by Iranian spectators in the stands.

Amini had been arrested y so-called morality police in Tehran for allegedly breeching the country’s dress code for women.

Spectators were seen wearing t-shirts at the Khalifa International Stadium before the match against England with the phrase "Zan, Zindagi, Azadi", which translates as "women, life, freedom", a chant heard during the protests in Iran.

One of the organisers of a protest being held at the tournament in Doha, Mahmoud Izadi, told Al Jazeera: "My people in Iran are under a lot of pressure and are being killed by the regime, so we want to use this opportunity to raise a voice for them.

"We have reached a point of no return and will no longer be suppressed by the regime."

Iranian supporters hold banners saying
Iranian supporters hold banners saying "Woman, Life, Freedom" during the nation's opening World Cup match against England ©Getty Images

In the build-up to the tournament Iranian coach Carlos Queiroz said players were free to protest during the World Cup, providing they did not go against the competition’s regulations.

"The players are free to protest as they would if they were from any other country, as long as it conforms with the World Cup regulations and is in the spirit of the game," Queiroz said.

"But you can also express yourself on the field in the game of football and the players have only one thing on their mind and that is to fight to qualify for the second round."

He added: "If we bring joy and pleasure to the people, then we have done our job as footballers and that’s the most important issue for me as national team coach."

Iran were defeated in an eventful match 6-2, the first fixture to be played in Group B.

Jude Bellingham headed England into the lead in the 35th minute, before Bukayo Saka doubled England's lead with a classy finish two minutes before the scheduled half-time interval.

A volley from Raheem Sterling in the first of 14 added minutes at the end of the first half gave England a 3-0 lead.

Saka scored his second and England's fourth just after the hour mark before a few minutes later Mehdi Taremi gave Iran something to cheer, netting what would prove a consolation goal, which made it 4-1.

Substitute Marcus Rashford netted England's fifth just after coming on, before Jack Grealish made it six from close range in the 90th minute.

A further 10 minutes of stoppage time were added, with Iran awarded a penalty courtesy of a video assistant referee (VAR) decision.

Taremi calmly converted the penalty in the 103rd minute of the game, making the final score 6-2. 

The match was played in front of 45,334 fans in Al Rayyan, in a stadium which holds just over 50,000 fans.

However, hundreds of fans missed the start of the match due to an issue with accessing their electronic tickets.

In a statement issued shortly before kickoff FIFA said: "Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA ticketing app.

"FIFA is working on solving the issue." 

Gareth Bale fired the ball beyond the reach of Matt Turner to give Wales a draw against the United States ©Getty Images
Gareth Bale fired the ball beyond the reach of Matt Turner to give Wales a draw against the United States ©Getty Images

Following England's victory over Iran, Wales and the United States met at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in the other Group B fixture.

The Americans took a deserved lead into the first half after Tim Weah coolly finished after latching onto an incisive pass from Christian Pulisic.

The US dominated the opening 45 minutes but the introduction of striker Kieffer Moore revitalised Rob Page's Welsh side.

The Bournemouth hitman injected much-needed energy into the Welsh team as they produced chance after chance in the latter stages but could not find the net.

Captain Gareth Bale finally found the breakthrough after 82 minutes with a thunderous penalty.

The 33-year-old was clumsily brought down in the box by Tim Ream and gave Wales what was a deserved draw in the end.