FIFA official Wenger knocks teams protesting at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — FIFA official Arsene Wenger has fired back at the World Cup. Groups that tried to make political statements In Qatar, Sunday said, they lacked focus in their first matches.

Wenger said teams who had played a good opening game were mentally ready to focus on the match and “not on political performance”. The former Arsenal manager did not specify which teams he was talking about when speaking during an analysis of group games at a media event hosted by FIFA in his capacity as global football development chief.

Denmark and Germany did not perform well in their first matches. Denmark drew 0-0 with Tunisia while Germany lost 2-1 to Japan.

They were among seven European football federations at the World Cup to require their captains to wear armbands as part of a Dutch diversity and anti-discrimination campaign to expose the host nation’s poor human rights record.

However, Wenger downplayed FIFA’s role in the dispute by avoiding the issue before the teams arrived at the World Cup. Then, seemingly under pressure from the Qatari authorities, it was allowed to extend to November 21, hours before England and the Netherlands played and won their first matches.

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Hours before those matches, FIFA was forced to step down The European federations have threatened to ensure England captain Harry Kane and Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk are shown yellow cards. They would have received a second yellow and been sent off and suspended for the next game.

Denmark played without protest on November 22, while a day earlier Germany’s players lined up for their pregame team photo and covered their mouths to show they were being silenced by World Cup organizers. Later, both the teams could not enter the knockout round.

The Danish soccer federation had consistently criticized Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers who helped build World Cup projects before the tournament and brought in black uniforms. To represent the color of mourning. Denmark did not wear the black jersey in all three matches.

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Wenger, a long-time commentator for Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, said on Sunday that the World Cup games had been popular around the world “despite all the negative publicity we’ve had in the past”.

German football legend Jurgen Klinsmann, who shared the stage with Wenger, highlighted the psychological needs of European players in Qatar and offered a different theory.

Klinsmann analyzes games for FIFA Prominent players in Europe’s biggest leagues had to adjust from playing club games until a week before the World Cup. started Teams usually have at least two weeks to prepare after the European season for a regular World Cup that starts in June.

“It’s very, very difficult for coaches to prepare a team in one week, obviously,” said Klinsmann, a two-time World Cup coach with Germany in 2006 and the U.S. in 2014.

“Teams have had severe psychological challenges,” he said, adding that expanded squads with 26 players instead of the usual 23 left coaches “dealing with 15 unhappy players”.

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From 48 matches in the group stage, Wenger highlighted two tactical trends – the importance of attacking from wider positions on the field and the ability of goalkeepers to pass the ball to teammates who were pressing opponents.

“I personally think the team with the best wide players will win this tournament,” Wenger said.

He said attacking teams were forced to find space on the flanks as opponents now protected the center of the field better, leading to fewer long-range shots being taken.

The evolution of the “sweeper keeper” role pioneered by Germany captain Manuel Neuer saw a 70% increase from the 2018 World Cup goalkeepers offered to receive the ball with their feet.

“It’s an impressive development of the goalkeeper’s position,” Klinsmann said, adding that youth training is likely to adapt, so potential keepers spend time in the outfield position to develop their ball control and passing skills.

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup, https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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