It’s claimed that fans in Russia, who cheered Saudi Arabia and Iran, will ‘boo’ Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gundoghan for having their photo taken with Recep Tayyip Erdogan because of Turkey’s abysmal human rights record. I’ll leave that one there with no further comment.
Yesterday was a day to forget for Alex Iwobi and Nigeria generally. They were woeful to the extent that Croatia could afford to be pedestrian to beat them. If Unai Emery was hoping to see a player looking to impress him, he will continue looking for Iwobi was poor. No worse than his team-mates – better than some – but failed to stake a marker as anything other than a squad player at Arsenal.
Of course, that’s a typical conflation of issues by a football supporter, in much the same way comparing two opening matches is a poor benchmark in the Messi vs Ronaldo battle. There’s more to the football equivalent of the original Star Wars trilogy vs everything else that followed.
Iwobi looked busy without achieving anything, which is more than his team-mates managed, but Nigeria’s foot is already halfway through the exit door.
After the high standards of the previous days, yesterday was something of a lull. Iceland’s draw with Argentina was retro football, 1980s First Division football which is why it’s so effective. No-one knows how to deal with the agricultural style these days, post-tiki-taka. Hmmm…long throws…route one…jumpers for goalposts…
Of course, when you have Messi in your side, expectations rise. The difference between he and Ronaldo is that I would pay to watch Messi but the latter is the one I’d want in my XI. He already is, of course; the ‘Nearly Signed XI’ remains strong.
Will we be adding to it this summer? Are we going for that calibre of player?
Arsenal, Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…
VAR caused some controversy in the France game. I didn’t think it was a penalty before and the replays didn’t change my mind. I wonder if VAR says to the referee ‘go and have a look at it’, there’s a psychological impact on the official? Is he subconsciously attuned to changing his mind before he sees the replay?
Although Griezmann was clipped after the ball had gone, he couldn’t reach it and didn’t have it under his control. The latter in isolation isn’t important but as part of the overall incident, it surely matters? What’s done is done and despite Australia feeling hard done by, France deserved the points.
There’s not much by way of Arsenal at the moment. Petr Cech, it’s claimed, is wanted by Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli. That’s a scary move, hinting that if we don’t land Jay Leno, Ospina is our Number One. Think about that when you watch Colombia’s match.
Team Jack briefed the press yesterday and the stories of Wolves, Everton, and West Ham filled the back pages. As well as Juventus and Sampdoria, but I can’t see him making a move to either of the Italian clubs on cultural or fitness grounds. He would get kicked from pillar to post with his style of play, more so than in England. Maybe he would fit into the Italian way of life but he strikes me as too much of a ‘homeboy’ when it comes to the London way of life.
And, if nothing else, he is a West Ham player at heart; he’d fit into their traditional style quite well.