Photograph: Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images
GROOVE IS IN THEIR HEART
If there’s one thing Gianni Infantino would like you to know about the Human Rights World Cup, it’s that EVERYBODY IS HAVING A REAL GOOD TIME. Especially a smiling Gianni, who TV cameras must fixate on at least once a game, although such candid snaps won’t be shared on the big screens at the stadium, in case he gets the Gideon Osborne treatment at London 2012 But why does everyone love him so much? One idea tirelessly floated by tournament advocates is that the alcohol ban imposed as the last orders sounded before the big kick-off prevented hooligans from lashing out and causing a rowdy way they actually haven’t done much at any of the Russian, Brazilian or South African World Cups.
Of course, no alcohol also made it safer for women, no beer or wary drunks. And that may be the case, at least for female tourists or the media, although Qatar itself has quite a different attitude to the west, with women’s rights being limited by the laws of the country. on male guardianship. In corporate lodges, it is assumed that everyone can have their Budweiser freely available and not make female visitors uncomfortable, because phenomenal wealth will always buy that kind of politeness. In the stadiums themselves, beyond those colorful scenes of fans mugging for the cameras, and despite some deft maneuvering from the host broadcasters, there also appears to be an abundant supply of seats. And that includes the 4-1 bombing of South Korea on Monday by a Brazilian side bringing their dancing shoes.
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At previous World Cups, the thought of Selection playing their jogo bonito samba style and other overused cliches in front of empty seats would be unthinkable, but blue plastic covers were freely visible for the final stand at the recyclable 974 BoxPark stadium. But thanks to Gianni for the view of the Selection playing their style of samba jogo bonito and other overused cliches, to make the HRWC feel like a true Copa do Mundo. From Leônidas da Silva to Didi, via Clodoaldo, Denilson and his friends juggling to Sergio Mendes in an airport for a shoe manufacturer, Brazil has always known how to move. “We have 10 different dances,” Richarlison roared full-time. His goal, Brazil’s third, included their coach, Tite, adopting the role of John Sergeant/Gregg Wallace dancer-dad.
Cue frowns at Proper Football Men in the gate, Roy Keane and Graeme Souness don’t miss their ITV cue. In Ireland, another Didi, Hamann, joined RTÉ. “The dance in the first half and then the keeper off,” he cried after Tite extended the party to include third-choice goalkeeper Weverton. The arrival of Wev in the second half meant that all members of the 26-man squad played in this HWRC. But will Brazil still dance against Argentina, and before that, Croatia in the quarters? The PFM hopes not, after such disrespect to the game. But Gianni’s fun franchise really needs them to keep it going.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
” I continued [to the pitch] and first consoled all the boys, then shook [Lionel] Messi’s hand. Nobody said anything so I just took a chance and he said, ‘I’ll see you inside.’ [I wanted] one of the other boys to get the chance first, but no one took it, so I thought why not? I do not know if [mine] will be on his wall at home or maybe still on the floor in this locker room but I’m not bothered – it’s more that I got his… I was even surprised that he took mine. He sure wouldn’t know who I am’ – Hearts midfielder Cammy Devlin, who didn’t play a flamboyant minute for Australia at HRWC, shows even the Socceroos’ unused subs were hitting way over the top of their weight in Qatar.
DAILY FOOTBALL LETTERS
Aaron Timms’ article describing Fox’s HR World Cup coverage as an “abomination” is way too kind. It is horrible and ignorant filth. Instead, we watched almost every game in Spanish on Univision, and while we don’t speak much Spanish, it’s infinitely better than the mindless drivel coming from the mouths of Fox presenters and commentators. Count yourself lucky if you don’t live in the United States! UNITED STATES!! UNITED STATES!!! Yesterday we flipped on the pre-game to hear Landon Donovan and Alexei Lalas being touted as ‘World Cup royalty’ and having a hasty beatdown. On a happier note, we are coming to the UK for Christmas and meeting a friend in Cambridge. None of us are familiar with Cambridge, can you recommend a decent pub for lunch? –Steve Brown.
A little late, but I had to gird up my loins and register. In MBM coverage of Wales v England, a reader asked if there was some sort of secret factory inside the left set up in the early 2000s. Yes there was. In my son’s under-12 team, everyone wants to be Cristiano Ronaldo or Kylian Mbappé, and spend their time dribbling down the left and practicing their celebrations (before realizing it’s actually quite difficult). It’s particularly maddening to me as the team’s defensive coach – it seems like no 12-year-old wants to be the next Steve Bruce’ – Pete Smith.
With all the underdogs having fallen in the round of 16 so far, it’s now up to Morocco to prevent the quarter-finals from becoming a club of all the usual suspects. Some might say there is a huge gap between these two shores, but in reality it is only the Strait of Gibraltar” – Peter Oh.
The latest HRWC Football Daily podcast is here for your viewing pleasure. Here’s a taste.