2022 World Cup: Australia, a very political outsider

First opponents of the Blues this Tuesday, November 22, the Australian “Socceroos” are not among the favorites of the World Cup. But as early as last October, their stand against Qatar shed light on this little-known team.

Far behind rugby and its local variant, Australian football, the round ball sport, locally called soccer, did not experience a strong rise in Australia. Few international players have broken into the major European championships.

Tim Cahill, living legend and top scorer of the selection, had remarkable passages in England, like attackers Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell. Too few, however, to consider the land of Oz as a breeding ground for great talent.

“The suffering of migrant workers cannot be ignored”

Several young binational players are also reluctant to accept a national team selection, for fear of definitively giving up a more attractive offer from their second country. For the World Cup in Qatar, coach Graham Arnold recently received a refusal from young Cristian Volpato (19), author of a promising start to the season with his club AS Roma. The midfielder hopes to one day join the ranks of the Squadra Azzurra, the Italian selection.

It is in the non-sporting field that Australia, 38e world nation in the FIFA rankings, stood out by becoming the first team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup to openly criticize Qatar. “We recognize the significant progress and legislative reforms that have taken place in Qatar in recent years, said the Australian federation last October. However, we have also learned that the tournament has been associated with the suffering of migrant workers and their families and this cannot be ignored. »

Players will no longer speak during the competition

The press release was accompanied by a video in which appear sixteen players of the selection. “For the past two years, we have been dedicated to understanding and getting to know the situation in Qatar better,” explain them there. “We are not experts but we have listened to groups such as Amnesty, Fifa and, more importantly, foreign workers in Qatar,” they continue, deploring the working conditions of the workers.

While there are several thousand deaths on World Cup construction sites, Australia can boast of having been the first to speak out, before being followed by others, such as the United States. United or Denmark. On the other hand, on their arrival in Doha, Monday, November 14, the Australians made it known that they would no longer speak on the subject.


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