Gary Lineker issues apology to England World Cup viewers at half-time

England fans watch England take on Iran at Boxpark Croydon

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BBC host Gary Lineker was forced to apologise live on air after several fans were left angry as they were unable to watch England’s opening World Cup game on iPlayer. Supporters took to social media to vent their rage after they got an error message when attempting to tune into the first half of the Three Lions match with Iran.

At half-time when Gareth Southgate’s side were leading 3-0, Lineker issued an apology. “Just a quick pointer, apologies if you have had any BBC iPlayer issues during that first half,” Lineker said. “We are working to fix them.”

Fans that missed the first half will have been upset not to catch an impressive England performance, as goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling had the Three Lions 3-0 up at half-time.

There was a lengthy stoppage for Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was injured and eventually left the pitch to be substituted following a head collision which saw 15 minutes of added time in the first half.

A BBC error message that greeted fans on the iPlayer site as they attempted to watch England’s opening game in Qatar read: “Sorry, it looks like something’s not working right now. Please try again in a few minutes.”

Viewers complained on social media as they were not able to access the game through the BBC website, as BBC One was unaffected by the issues. “SORT IT OUT!! People are wanting to watch the football,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “You should have been prepared for the volume of people accessing it. What an absolute joke!! Can’t believe we pay a licence fee for this shoddy service #iplayer.”

Another fan added: “I’ve just downloaded the BBC iPlayer app to try watch the England game on my lunch break and it is down. Shocking.”

A third fan called for their lincense fee to be refunded. “Pity I can’t watch it on iplayer as stuck on signing into my account for 45 mins,” they wrote. “License refund?”

Fans will have hoped that the situation was resolved in the second half and they were able to watch Saka get his second of the day in the second half, as his deflected strike was the fourth of the day for England.

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