Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

main event

We reached that important point in the group stage in which all 32 teams played in Qatar. As far as we can see at the 2022 World Cup, whose name is it?

Spain, most obviously starving their limited opponents for possession of the ball, no doubt given the ease with which Costa Rica was cast aside, threatening the goal every time they went forward. The winners of 2010, who had the misfortune of being knocked out of last year’s Euro after beating Italy in the semi-finals, boast an increasingly successful manager in Luis Enrique and a potentially groundbreaking star of the tournament in 18-year-old Barcelona scheming Gavi. Just try to get the ball from them.

France were phenomenal in distributing Australia 4-1 in Group D, old Oliver Giroud like stale wine scored a few goals, the absurdly talented Kylian Mbappé ominously upping a gear or two when needed. Their coach, Didier Deschamps, of course, even managed to lift the trophy in Russia four years ago. To borrow a well-worn tipping slogan, Les Bleus Definitely worth a second look.

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Qatar: beyond football

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Meanwhile, Richarlison scored possibly the best goal of their first-round match last night in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia, returning with his own silky first touch and throwing a fantastic volley into the corner. The Tottenham striker also scored the first goal and although Neymar started the tournament relatively calmly, Brazil’s rich offensive ability and defensive strength make it a team you’d rather avoid in playoffs.

England looked useful against Iran in a 6-2 win. Jude Bellingham, with his box-to-box driving and versatile football mindset, invites comparisons with Bryan Robson. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder continues to show maturity well beyond his 19 years of age, both on and off the field. This is an England belt with some precious metal in them, as Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish battle the undefeatable Harry Kane for a spot in the top six. Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands beat stubborn Senegal with a few late goals. If World Cups were handed out solely on managerial experience, orange would be nailed.

Argentina’s first defeat against Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest shocks of the World Cup: can Lionel Messi fulfill his destiny on the biggest stage? The same question can be asked of Robert Lewandowski, who missed a penalty in Poland’s first game against Mexico.

There are tougher tests for Spain of course, but this 7-0 hit was a glamorous way to set up Sunday’s big clash with Germany, which had succumbed to a dynamic Japan. Hansi Flick and her assistants came in with high hopes, but they need a conclusion or they’ll be home early again. Football no longer lasts 90 minutes, as some massive pause times show, but will Germany finally win? It might not be wise to bet against it though. LMc

talking points

No sense of diminished interest
FIFA has released a series of figures that seem to contradict any idea of ​​people leaving the World Cup, with viewership figures for the opening game around the world compared to 2018. England were in the opening fixture in 2018. Ecuador won its opening game 2-0 against Qatar, with 3.8 million viewers peaking out of a total population of just under 18 million. A little caveat should be given: Russia 2018’s opening game was played on a Thursday, European afternoon, while Qatar’s kick-off came on a Sunday when most people would be out of work. PMc

transport to a camp
Qatar’s Supreme Committee (SC) has promised full refunds to fans who entered the World Cup campgrounds and found their camp unfinished. According to ESPN’s reports, SC blamed “operator negligence”, saying fans would be reimbursed for any money spent – a night at a shipping container campground costing around $200 – and provided free accommodation for the remainder of their stay. “Some of the units at these facilities delivered and managed by different private entities did not meet the required standards announced to the fans,” an RS spokesperson said. PMc

Not featured teams
Another humiliating own goal for Fifa? The world governing body has been accused of ignoring its own guidelines after colorblind fans endured a “disastrous” jersey clash when they wore the red and green home jerseys respectively in Switzerland and Cameroon Group G matches. Fifa regulations state that even if the match has already started, a team must change kits as necessary or combine different elements from different sets of games to achieve such a clear separation. Color blindness affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women worldwide. Recent research by Color Blind Awareness showed that 6% of elite male players are colorblind (meaning on average at least one player on each team). Founder Kathryn Albany-Ward said, “You might think that even if Fifa can’t control their own rules, national teams will do it, even if it’s to make sure their players and teams aren’t at a disadvantage.” “We would like to know how the color combination red/green is allowed in the Switzerland v Cameroon game and why, according to the regulations, a team does not switch to an alternate jersey at halftime. This is particularly embarrassing for them as FIFA is based in Switzerland.” boyfriend

Iranian security forces arrested one of Iran’s most famous football players, Voria Ghafouri, yesterday, accusing him of making propaganda against the Islamic republic and undermining the World Cup team. Ghafouri was outspoken in his defense of the Iranian Kurds and begged the government to stop killing Kurds. He was previously arrested for criticizing the former Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif.

The Iranian team has already been embroiled in controversy for not singing the national anthem before losing to England, and Ghafouri’s arrest will likely be seen as a warning to players not to repeat their protest. PW

Global media monitoring

The finger of blame continues to stick wildly in all directions after Germany’s shock defeat to Japan. Bastian Schweinsteiger lamented “again, big mistakes in defense” in his expert role for broadcaster ARD, casting Niklas Süle and Leon Goretzka for their roles on Ritsu Doan’s equalizer. “The pressure on the German team is huge before the big game against Spain on Sunday,” Kicker writes. “Because when the world champions of 2010 and 2014 come together, the surprisingly early end of the World Cup threatens.” WM

The internet is reacting

John Fashanu advances the OneLove armband controversy in a sentence that no one wants to have to write. Whoever thought this was a good idea in Good Morning Britain, congratulations on the worst decision since the Titanic crew chose the laissez-faire approach to avoid icebergs. Fashanu lamented what was probably the most pathetic rant of the World Cup to date: “If politics is getting into football, which is what happens, politics goes up, goes up, goes up, and eventually they’re going to win.” Of course, there is nothing political about an oppressive regime using the biggest event in football to bolster its soft power. A limited pro-egalitarian gesture though? Be warned, this sounds a little provocative.

This is a problem that Fashanu has done more harm than good, and they know it. Creating discussion about the existence of LGBTQ/human rights issues. Then next week they will ask questions about how football can be more inclusive and eradicate homophobia at the same time. 🙄

— Anita Asante (@NicenNeetz) 24 November 2022

Breel Embolo, on the other hand, became the center of attention after scoring a goal against Cameroon, his home country, to start Switzerland with a win. While players are often mocked for their refusal to celebrate against former clubs, Embolo’s quiet response speaks to the complexity of personal identity and international football. Moreover, it has produced many good memes. WM

today’s matches

Wales v Iran (Group B, 10:00 GMT, BBC One) It seems a bit surreal as we are only six days into the tournament, but it’s a time of distress for Wales. After a 1-1 draw with the USA, they need a win against Iran, even Gareth Bale’s miraculous skill may not be enough to take them to the last 16. When Kieffer is replaced by Moore, that’s why Rob Page could well benefit from Moore’s clumsy link game against an Iranian side that has been battered by England in the air. For Iran, no matter what happens, this tournament will be remembered for their indomitable courage.

Qatar v Senegal (Group A, 13:00 GMT, BBC One) Costa Rica may have stolen their thunder as the worst team ever, but Qatar was terrible in their first game against Ecuador. If you lose to Senegal, they will be out of their World Cup after two games. Given that this is an event built on human misery, few will be upset if Qatar becomes the second host to reach the group stage after South Africa in 2010. Senegal has had and will have moments against the Netherlands. sure to beat a side that can’t shoot on target in the curtain lifter.

Netherlands – Ecuador (Group A, 16:00 GMT, ITV) The Netherlands, lagging behind Senegal, will seek a more dominant performance against Ecuador. Louis van Gaal admitted that his team was “poor” in the first half, so Frenkie de Jong and his midfielders are under pressure to better control the ball. They may have won comfortably against Qatar, but Ecuador wasn’t exactly great. Moisés Caicedo is the engine and will be tasked with defeating De Jong and his aides.

England v USA (Group B, 19:00 GMT, ITV) England had previously faced the group stage twice before beating the USA. The 1-1 draw in South Africa was the first indication that all was not well in Capelloball – or roonismoTo use the correct Italian term, a 1-0 defeat at Belo Horizonte in 1950 is still among the biggest upsets in the history of the competition. Believe it or not, the United States has advanced quite a bit over the past 72 years. Christian Pulisic may be their poster child, but Timothy Weah looks just as dangerous. WM

player to watch

Joe Allen He may no longer be the jolly young thing that helped propel Swansea to the Premier League – even though his career has since taken him full circle and brought him back to his childhood club – but Allen remains a crucial player for Wales. He’s been out with a hamstring injury since September, now back in full training. Wales, who had a hard time holding the ball against the USA, especially in the first half, shouts for Allen’s experience and confidence in the midfield. Whether he is ready to start against Iran or not, he may have an important role to play. WM

And finally …

Decorating their training base with rainbow flags, Wales were essentially the last side to raise two fingers at Fifa for their aggressive tackles against the OneLove armband. “We’ve known for months we’d be wearing the OneLove armband, and they definitely did,” Noel Mooney, president of the Football Association of Wales, told ITV. “Honestly, it’s pretty cheap and despicable to pin this on ourselves… We’ve given Fifa everything we can about how angry we are about this decision. We think it’s a terrible decision.” WM