League of Nations in June, World Cup in winter: Football must be purged

Football needs a purge. But not the ones that the League of Nations has served us in the spotlight since the beginning of June, including the one offered by the England team, semi-finalist of the 2018 World Cup and finalist of the Euro 2020, must be the most complete example.

In other circumstances, the balance sheet of the Three Lions came out of this extended passage in front of UEFA’s goinfres du ballon buffet should Gareth Southgate be worth a hurricane of criticism of such violence would have trembled. The usual excited ones vomited their bile on Twitter, but they did the same after Italy beat England on goal in July. Therefore, they will not be given more attention than usual.

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Too many matches for too much indifference

Elsewhere, when you look at it more closely, beyond a few headlines, it was almost total indifference. The journalists who had covered up the humiliation in Molineux cracked a few well-meaning words to describe this slap, but it felt good that the heart was not quite there.

Take it Times and the guardian the day after the flight of the beating from Hungary to Wolverhampton. Both dailies enjoyed sports. But not football, relegated to the tail of their editions, like the other days when nothing normal passes into the microcosm of the ball. No, cricket, which is a bit obvious given the rather extraordinary performance of the English drummers against New Zealand, who had snatched an anthology victory against the current world champions in Test matches. A little – but no more: England had just been beaten 4-0 at home in an official competition by a team that ranks 40th in the FIFA World Rankings (thirty-five places behind the FIFA World Cup). English, so).

Gareth Southgate and Mason Mount, head down, after England’s defeat to Hungary (0-4) – 14.06.2022

Credit: Imago

Moreover, this Hungary, although it has progressed – a bit – since Marco Rossi took office in 2018, has little to do with the Magic donuts of Puskas, Hidegkuti, Czibor and Kocsis who had inflicted a famous 6-3 defeat on the Three Lions which killed for good the myth that England was invincible on its lands in 1953. Nor is it worth such an attractive team. from the mid-1960s, the one led by the wonderful 1967 Golden Ball, Florian Albert.

In fact, she missed her 2022 World Cup qualifier by bowing twice against Albania, and after being scared against Andorra (1-2) in Budapest. So these are the terrors that have beaten England twice in the space of ten days, for a combined score of 5-0.

However, despite a few boos heard in Molineux, despite matches against Italy and Germany (1-1 and 0-0) which were not the most convincing either, despite two points out of twelve possible in the Nations League ( and the most real danger of a relegation to the “League B” of the Nations League for the next edition of the tournament), Gareth Southgate will continue to enjoy the support of the majority of English fans and media.

Fans, too, are tired

It’s not just the players who are tired, exhausted, freewheeling. There are fans too. The journalists. TV presenters are forced to pretend to be excited when they talk about a tournament that everyone is counterfeiting. We all have only one craving: this cook who fills our plates as soon as they are finished and prevents us from digesting returns to his stove, and he serves us a lighter kitchen next time.

The majority of English fans and media (and many other countries) are well aware that the object of their anger, rather than a coach running out of ideas because out of players in physical and mental condition does not if acceptable, must be those who have found a way to stall four competitive games in the space of ten days at the end of a grueling season.

UEFA? Yes, and no. Because UEFA didn’t really have another window to shoot their matches, unless they drew a line in a competition whose first edition, in 2018-19, had been a great success, and to which it intends to to invite the nations of CONMEBOL in the near future; and if she had no other shooting window, it was because, for the first time in its history, the World Cup will not take place in June and July, but in November and December.

It’s hard to play football – or watch it from the stands – when the average temperature is 37 degrees in the shade, with regular spikes of over 40 and even over 50, as is the case. case in the summer in Doha.

However, FIFA’s specifications were very clear. The candidate countries for the 2022 World Cup had seen significant black on white prin FIFA, which the tournament would be played in June and July. They had prepared their own files accordingly, and include Qatar, which said that the use of revolutionary air conditioning systems will allow it to organize matches in bearable conditions for athletes, officials and fans – in June and July, entendons-nous.

Gianni Infantino carries the World Cup trophy

Credit: Imago

Only here. As FIFA assessors themselves wrote in their assessment of the five nominations for the 2022 World Cup (excluding Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the USA), even assuming that these revolutionary air conditioning systems (which had not yet been properly tested) work, it would still be too hot. And so, after all, in defiance of its own specifications, mocking what the Japanese, Koreans, Australians, and Americans might have thought so foolishly, FIFA decided to do blow up a bomb in the international calendar, charge the others to sweep the debris.

This is just the beginning …

FIFPro, the Leagues, the Confederations, the clubs, the supporters all made their opposition to the World Cup move in the winter. But what FIFA wants, FIFA gets. And so here we are in June 2022, wondering how we were able to force exhausted players to get a little more exhausted by participating in a competition that no one wanted at this time of year.

Raphaël Varane, injured in France – Denmark

Credit: Getty Images

And this is just the beginning. Let’s not forget that if the World Cup starts on November 21, it will be a week earlier that the selected players will have to join their national team. In the case of England, this means that the Premier League will have to find a way to break the seven days lost due to the World Cup, planted there in the calendar like a monstrous cactus in the middle of the lawn. The FA Cup and Ligue des Champions finals are then played in June.

Let’s stop there. Let’s stop before we talk about the biennial World Cup advocated by Gianni Infantino, Arsène Wenger and this FIFA colony that has become the CAF; or the addition of matches to the Champions League program; or the dream of a Superleague – in Europe and elsewhere – that continues to seduce far too many big clubs to ignore.

In 21st century football, it seems, too much is not too much. Too much is never enough.

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