Since FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup nearly 2 years ago there has been increasing pressure on the body to rethink their decision. With the tournament still 9 years away, the football world is throwing a tantrum and it seems that some of FIFA’s members are becoming more outspoken about their disapproval of the tiny Gulf state as host.

When Blatter made the announcement in Zurich the jubilation of the Qatar bid team who had travelled to Switzerland was similar to that of a jackpot winner at iPadcasino.com.au. The rest of the massive conference hall was silent for a moment before voicing their shock and exasperation at the decision, but it seemed that there was no going back. However, now it seems there are more rumblings about the suitability of the event in a location that has a blistering hot summer totally unsuited to the sport.

FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger has waded into the fray, calling the Qatar World Cup a blatant mistake. He says that even moving the date of the cup wouldn’t be ideal as although it may help players avoid the searing summer heat it would seriously affect the European Leagues. Sepp Blatter proposed the switch of the tournament to the cooler months, saying that the World Cup is a party for the people and although you can cool stadiums down, you cannot cool down a whole country. The summer heat regularly tops 100 degrees and should never have been considered a viable option for the cup in the first place. Blatter’s proposal was met with disdain and Zwanziger insists the event should be given to someone else.

Other high profile figures have also recently expressed their opposition over the tournament being hosted by Qatar, with UEFA President Michael Platini saying it was impossible to play football in Qatar and another member of the FIFA Executive Committee, Franz Beckenbauer being adamant about providing an alternative solution. CEO of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore has also expressed his unhappiness, saying that the change of event date would disrupt the league and that summer is the right time, with good reason.

There is no doubt that a cloud hangs over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and  the decision that looked set in stone might now be crumbling.

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The main discussion topics this week are the FIFA controversy that has filled the media this week. Everyone has their say on Sepp and the boys.

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It is the pleasure of gibfootballshow to welcome David Bevan, otherwise known as The 72 football. David asks the question. Do we really want Goal-Line technology?

I love football. I love it for its beauty, but also for its imperfections. Apparently, though, I don’t. This weekend, there was another contentious decision in the Premier League and we have had to suffer overexposed loudmouths in the media putting words in the mouths of millions of football supporters. More waffle and bluster about how “everyone” wants goal-line technology except a few “neanderthals” at FIFA. Tentatively, I raise my hand. And me…

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Even though the wonderful guys over at twofootedtackle whipped up a fantastic Asian Cup preview this morning, plans were already afoot for gibfootballshow to provide our own, so here it is.

This Friday night the eyes of the World will turn to Qatar as they host the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. With people tuning in not just to see the best of Asian talent but to see how Qatar cope hosting an event half the size of FIFA’s grand showpiece.

Sixteen teams will compete for the fifteenth Asian Cup. With the inclusion of six past champions (Israel being the only one not there of course.) there is a mixture of the better known teams Japan, Korea Republic, Australia and the lesser known Jordan, Syria and Bahrain.

Pressure you feel on the home nation to prove they are worthy of a World Cup spot albeit for a tournament in 11 years time. Korea DPR will look to improve on there impressive showing in South Africa with this their 3rd appearance in the tournament. Iraq and Saudi Arabia will hope to have an impressive tournament after both reached the final last time but failed to appear in South Africa last year.

With all the claims the Qatari bid made with their World Cup stadia plans people will be disappointed to hear that only two stadiums planned for the event in 2022 will be used in the competition. The 50,000 seater Khalifa International Stadium in Doha will host the opening game between Qatar and Uzbekistan and the final on January the 29th.

The Al-Gharafa Stadium also in Doha is the other World Cup stadium being used of course the plans are to increase it to 44,000 from it’s current 22,000 seats. Out of the other three stadiums only one can be found outside Doha.

Al-Rayyan’s Ahmed bin Ali Stadium will host all of Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s fixtures and organisers will hope to fill the 25,000 seats for each game and really ramp up the atmosphere of the tournament.

Back in 2007 the tournament was held in July with co-hosts Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This year’s cup was moved to January to cope with the increased heat in the Middle East it is still expected to be around 25 degrees when the games start on Friday.

Younis Mahmoud’s 72nd minute goal was enough to see Iraq overcome Saudi Arabia 1-0 to lift the 2007 Asian Cup and complete a fairytale story for the war-torn nation. Reaching the final they beat Australia, Vietnam and the Korea Republic, although they only scored seven goals they played some great football and deserved the victory.

Saudi Arabia would have been disappointed with their finish to the tournament, top scorers with twelve goals and wins over the Korea Republic and Japan they would have felt like favourites for the cup but Mahmoud’s seventh goal was enough to cause the upset.

Looking at the four groups there are some mouth-watering encounters. Qatar have a great chance of reaching the Quarter-Finals and so will their opponents, Kuwait, China and Uzbekistan will all fancy their chances of getting out of Group A.

Group B sees favourites Japan and Saudi Arabia lock horns and surely Syria and Jordan will need a miracle to advance, however in a three game group there are no certainties for qualification.

In Group C Australia will fancy their chances of reaching the last eight, a tough test against the Korea Republic sandwiched by games against India and Bahrain. The last group is surely the “Group of Death” Iraq, Iran, Korea DPR and the United Arab Emirates will be a scene out of a George Bush tea party. All four teams from Group D will be eager to advance.

According to a popular betting site it’s no surprise to see Japan, Australia and South Korea as outright favourites to lift the trophy. Holders Iraq are deemed as a long shot to regain their title at 21/1. Most people will look to the big three for the winner come the end of January however it’s worth watching Korea DPR and the Saudis.

For people with access to TV channel Eurosport will be happy to know they will be broadcasting the tournament from this Friday.

Stay tuned tomorrow for ten players to watch for in the tournament.

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Day Two of the Last 16 and with three of the favourites playing, at least one of them was going out, but noone thought it would happen the way it did. Controversy in both games, Video technology would have completely changed the events of June 27th.

GERMANY

4

 

ENGLAND

1

Miroslav KLOSE (20′)     Matthew UPSON (37′)  
Lukas PODOLSKI (32′)        
Thomas MÜLLER (67′,70′)        
         
1.Manuel NEUER     1.David JAMES  
3.Arne FRIEDRICH – Y     2.Glen JOHNSON – Y OUT – 87
6.Sami KHEDIRA     3.Ashley COLE  
7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER     4.Steven GERRARD  
8.Mesut ÖZIL OUT – 83   6.John TERRY  
10.Lucas PODOLSKI     8.Frank LAMPARD  
11.Miroslav KLOSE OUT – 72   10.Wayne ROONEY  
13.Thomas MULLER OUT – 72   14.Gareth BARRY  
16.Philipp LAHM – C     15.Matthew UPSON  
17.Per MERTESACKER     16.James MILNER OUT – 64
20.Jerome BOATENG     19.Jermain DEFOE OUT – 71
         
Subs     Subs  
9.Stefan KIEßLING IN – 83   11.Joe COLE IN – 64
15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI IN -  72   17.Shaun WRIGHT-PHILLIPS IN – 87
23.Mario GOMEZ IN – 72   21.Emile HESKEY IN – 71

MY THOUGHTS

When this match was decided I had said, If England play 4-4-2 against Germany’s 4-2-3-1 then they would find it very hard to keep the ball in midfield and there would be space at the back, and this was one prediction I have got spot on.

3 of Germany’s 4 goals were scored from the fast break, exploiting the space in the wings overloading the English defence and using their pace, at times they ripped Upson & Co. apart.

The 4-1 scoreline in a way will water down the main talking point, at 2-1 Frank Lampard chipped the ball over Neuer’s head it hit the underside of the crossbar and I think the only people not to see it cross the line were the linesman and the referee, it was a foot over the line, and should have been the equaliser which would have changed the whole complexion of the game, the half time whistle seemed to stop England’s momentum and for me they never seemed to have the same drive in the second half after Lampard’s free kick smashed off the crossbar.

It was 2 goals in 3 minutes from Thomas Müller set up by Mesut Özil, both were superb the young turk cause so many problems finding space between the midfield and defence, then opening up gaps for his teammates, along with his goals it was Müller that set up Podolski for the second, the front four of Germany could have had 5 or 6 goals, David James coming to England’s aid on a few ocassions.

Question marks still hang over the heads of Mertesacker, Boateng and Arne Friedrich, in the air Mertesacker could not be beaten however when turned he finds it very hard to recover, players like Messi and Tevez will cause him problems, Boateng did a bad job in closing down James Milner, letting him cross balls in at will, Boateng is not a fullback and it really shows, I’m not sure Badstuber is a better option.

Not many England players to pick out for positive reasons, Lampard was the most effective that he’s been all World Cup, could easily have scored 2 goals, Milner delivered quite a few dangerous crosses, Defoe coming closest to converting them, David James the other England player to just about come out with pass marks, saves from Klose and Özil, should have been out faster for the first goal though.

Cole, Gerrard, Rooney, Barry and Upson had poor games, Upson was pulled out of position so many times by the German movement, Rooney as has been well documented played poor the whole tournament, bad touch, bad shooting even his movement was sub par.

Taking away all the controversy Germany were the better team and deserved to win, inflicting the worst defeat in a World Cup in England’s history.

ARGENTINA

3

 

MEXICO

1

Carlos TEVEZ (26′, 52′)     Javier HERNANDEZ (71′)  
Gonzalo HIGUAIN (33′)        
         
22.Sergio ROMERO     1.Oscar PEREZ  
2.Martin DEMICHELIS     2.Francisco RODRIGUEZ  
4.Nicolas BURDISSO     3.Carlos SALCIDO  
6.Gabriel HEINZE     4.Rafael MARQUEZ – C – Y  
7.Angel DI MARIA OUT – 79   5.Ricardo OSORIO  
9.Gonzalo HIGUAIN     6.Gerardo TORRADO  
10.Lionel MESSI     14.Javier HERNANDEZ  
11.Carlos TEVEZ OUT – 69   16.Efrain JUAREZ  
14.Javier MASCHERANO     17.Giovani DOS SANTOS  
15.Nicolas OTAMENDI     18.Andres GUARDADO OUT – 61
20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ OUT – 87   21.Adolfo BAUTISTA OUT – 46
         
Subs     Subs  
1.Diego POZO     7.Pablo BARRERA IN – 46
21.Mariano ANDUJAR     8.Israel CASTRO  
3.Clemente RODRIGUEZ     9.Guillermo FRANCO IN – 61
5.Marco BOLATTI     10.Cuauhtemoc BLANCO  
8.Juan VERON IN – 69   11.Carlos VELA  
12.Ariel GARCE     12.Paul AGUILAR  
13.Walter SAMUEL     13.Guillermo OCHOA  
16.Sergio AGUERO     15.Hector MORENO  
17.Jonas GUTIERREZ IN – 79   19.Jonny MAGALLON  
18.Martin PALERMO     20.Jorge TORRES  
19.Diego MILITO     22.Alberto MEDINA  
23.Javier PASTORE IN – 87   23.Luis MICHEL  

MY THOUGHTS

The second game of the day and FIFA would have been hoping for a quiet game with no controversy, not today Sepp.

After Mexico starting as the better team, Guardado came close and Salcido smashed the crossbar, I thought we could have been in for an upset. That was until the 26th minute, Messi played in Tevez his initial shot saved by Perez fell back to Messi he chiped it to Tevez and he headed it in, once we saw the replays it was clear Tevez was at least 2 yards offside, it got worse for Mexico as the teams were lining up for kickoff, the big screen showed the replay and all the Mexican players saw it, and quite rightly confronted the referee and linesman, they had also seen it, and looked embarrassed, of course there was nothing anyone could do now as the goal had been given, another massive call for video technology.

Things went from bad to worse for the Mexicans, Ricardo Osorio tried a little heel drag near his own box, mis controlled and Higuain was in on goal he rounded Perez and made no mistake with the finish, Mexico had gone from the better team to 2-0 down.

There was no way back from this, a Tevez wondergoal made it 3 and apart from Hernandez superb goal for Mexico Argentina never looked troubled again.

Otamendi looked loads more stable at right back than Jonas Gutierrez, Otamendi can also play at centre back so he knows how to cover the middle also, a solid performance. Higuain and Messi were very quiet, they never got many chances to trouble the Mexican defence, I only remember one run from Messi near the end of the match, but players can’t be brilliant all the time, and he has showed so far in this tournament that you need to respect his talent.

I can’t say it was a classic Argentina performance however it was a great victory and they roll on to the next round to face the Germans.

Mexico were very impressive and the much better footballing side in the whole match, sometimes decisions go against you that you can’t come back from and that was the case last night, Hernandez looks a good player Sir Alex has unearthed a gem there, along with dos Santos and the substitute Barrea they caused endless problems to Maradona’s men, I would have started Barrea he looked great against the French and Bautista was poor and was right to be taken off, Barrea looks to have bags of pace and the skill to match.

Shame for the Mexicans to go home, they have entertained us in South African and I hope they grow as a team for the future who knows what can happen in 4 years.

QUARTER FINAL – GERMANY v ARGENTINA

What a match this could be, Argentina weak down the flanks were Germany are so strong, you then have the midfield battles, Özil, Khedira and Schweinsteiger versus Messi, Mascherano and Rodriguez however I would not be surprised if Veron came back in, in a similar role to Schweinsteiger

I’m hoping for a thriller maybe a 5 goal thriller at that, it will not be boring.

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This morning I woke up with a smile on my face, for the first time in 7 years there are no English teams in the Champions League Semi-Finals, this means I don’t have to hear about how the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, far superior to any other league etc, Alex Ferguson blaming those “typical germans” for getting Rafael sent off, when it was Ribery a Frenchman and van Bommel a Dutchman who had approached the referee

Teams from Germany, Spain, Italy and France make up the 4 left in the competition, by English media standards surely this means now these 4 leagues are all better than the Premier League, of course it doesn’t, it is simply a great advert to how global the game of football has become. Personally I do enjoy the Premier League, but also in the same I Love La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, I just love football, and will watch any league available, of course in all these leagues, you will get games that bore you to death on the other hand games that will blow you away, there are people that I speak to on a regular basis who just decide that they don’t like a league and will never ever change their opinion of it, no matter what.

This type of opinion really gets to me, why be so narrow-minded, given the choice of watching Wigan v Burnley or Bayern Munich v Stuttgart, to me it would be the German match every time, and sometimes it could turn out to be a poor 1-1 draw or it could be a cracker, the same with every game you sit down to watch, I love watching top European football no matter what league or country it is from, this allows me to form opinions of players based over league, cup and international matches, not just 2 or 3 Champions League games against English opposition and then form a limited opinion.

The opinion that the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, is one that English people love to spout off about, 1 point I always make is, “What players at the peak of their game have moved to the Premier League?” and “How English is the Premier League?”

From last year’s Champions League semi-finals 3 of the teams were English but only 8 different English players started in both Legs, not a great amount from 3 of the top teams in England’s top Division.

9 French players played, 7 Spanish, 3 Brazilian, 3 Ivoirians and 2 Argentineans, in total 21 different nationalities were represented, and who was in charge of these so called “English teams” a Scotsman, a Frenchman and a Dutchman, and only Arsenal were owned by an English company.

Without boring everyone with stats as far as I am aware, most other big leagues have a majority of home based players in their squads have home grown coaches and are owned by men or companies from their own country, this so call domination of the European game by “English” teams to me is very diluted, and there are very little English things remaining of these teams, except where they play.

I don’t want this post to seem like an attack of the English game, I watch the Premiership every week and there are some fantastic players playing for some great teams, however I could never limit myself to English or even British football, I’d be missing out on some fantastic players, La Liga with Messi, Xavi, Ronaldo, Higuain and David Villa, Bundesliga with Franck Ribery, Robben, Toni Kroos, Torsten Frings, Stefan Kiessling, Serie A with Sneijder, Milito, Pato, Ronaldinho, Totti, and Cavani, Ligue 1 with Gourcuff, Chamakh, Bastos, Lisandro, Gervinho, Jelen I could go on and on.

People often ask being Scottish why do I bother with the World Cup, and all the players mentioned above are why, I have long come to terms with the fact that Scotland don’t have the players to make it on the International or Club stage, that does not however make my want to watch football any less, because there are hundreds of wonderful players worldwide that make it a joy to watch the beautiful game.

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FIFA and UEFA really make me mad sometimes.

The playoffs were decided recently for the remaining places left to qualify for South Africa 2010.

Greece v Ukraine
Portugal v Bosnia-Herzigovina
Russia v Slovenia
,
and of course
Republic of Ireland v France.

Before the qualification groups started there was no mention of there being a seeded playoff system, just that the top 8 second place teams would go into the playoffs, but after the scare of some good teams not making it, FIFA/UEFA decided it should be seeded.

My question is WHY?

Every team in qualifying was seeded to begin with and given enough games to qualify properly in their own right, so if you failed to get an automatic place, and finish second you should not then get help again with being given a so called weaker team in a 2 leg playoff game.

If there was a league table of 2nd placed teams it would look like this

Russia 22pts
Ukraine 21pts
France 21pts
Greece 20pts
Slovenia 20pts
Portugal 19pts
Bosnia 19pts
Ireland 18pts

Slovenia finished with more points than Portugal and the same points as Greece so what right do they have of being seeded in front of the Slovenians.

We could have had,  France v Portugal,  seeing one big team going out or Slovenia v Bosnia, giving hope to these 2 smaller naions would have a great chance of a place in South Africa.

FIFA would hate this though, continually making the rich nations rich, and the poor nations poor, I personally hope a big team or two go out nothing against the big teams just like a shock now and again, and without FIFA’s bureauracy we might see some more.

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