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.



2022 World Cup: players’ timid initiatives in support of human rights

The day after the start of the controversial FIFA World Cup in Qatar, several European teams announced on Monday, November 21, that they were giving up wearing a “One Love” armband adorned with a multicolored heart. A sign that was intended to support LGBT + people and other minorities whose rights are not recognized in the emirate.

The initiative proposed by the Dutch federation at the beginning of September will therefore not be followed. A setback that comes after Fifa forbade them, Sunday, November 19, preferring to the multicolored armband slogans like “Football unites the world », “save the planet” or “protect the children”.

A ” Good choice “ according to Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), whose players had initially planned to wear the armband before backtracking. Hugo Lloris, the tricolor captain, again assured Monday that he would follow the recommendation of the international federation, preferring ” stay “ in his ” frame “, “that of player and competitor”.

Yellow card

Several team captains, including that of England which begins its competition against Iran on Monday, Harry Kane, or the Dutchman Virgil van Dijk, had however reaffirmed Monday morning their desire to display this symbol of inclusion and of diversity. The captain of the German team, Manuel Neuer, had even assured to be “willing to pay fines”, financial sanctions having been brandished by Fifa.

This was without counting the announcement of sporting sanctions. Captains who wear the armband would be penalized with a yellow card, threatened the institution that governs world football. A measure that decided the seven refractory to give up.

“As national federations, we cannot ask our players to risk sporting sanctions, including yellow cardswrote the federations of the seven countries in a joint press release published on Monday. We were ready to pay fines (…) but we cannot put our players in the situation where they could be warned, or even have to leave the field. »

FIFA assured that its official armbands would be flocked with the message “No to discrimination”its president Gianni Infantino assuring that ” Everyone is welcome “ in the country.

Jerseys sold at auction

Other teams have carried out their own “initiatives” to support minorities or immigrant workers, on the margins. The German team, for example, made the trip to Qatar with a plane bearing the slogan “Diversity wins”. On the American side, the Football Federation has replaced the colors of its logo with those of the rainbow, in support of LGBT + people whose rights are violated in Qatar.

In the Netherlands, the jerseys of players worn during the World Cup will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be used to help the families of migrant workers who died on stadium construction sites. As for Denmark, the leaders have given up sending an official representation of the government or the royal family to Qatar. The Danish players wanted to go further, wearing a flocked jersey with the inscription “human rights for all” but Fifa rejected their request.

Failing to defend the “One Love” armband, the Blues have committed themselves to “support NGOs that work for the protection of human rights”. They will feed, for an unspecified amount, the Génération 2018 endowment fund created by the world champions in order to finance social actions.



World Cup 2022: matches and results for Monday November 21

► England – Iran: 6-2, a successful entry into the running for the semi-finalist of the 2018 World Cup

England, semi-finalist of the World Cup-2018 and finalist of Euro-2020, made a success of its entry into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by outclassing Iran 6-2 in group B, Monday, November 21 at the stadium Khalifa of Doha.

Faced with the Iranians who quickly had to do without their titular goalkeeper, hit in the face, the English took over thanks to goals from their young nuggets Jude Bellingham, 19 (35th) and Bukayo Saka, 21 (43rd, 62nd ), and the more experienced Raheem Sterling, (45+1), Marcus Rashford (71st) and Jack Grealish (90th). Iran reduced the score thanks to a double from Mehdi Taremi (65th, 90 + 13 sp)

The eleven Iranian players refrained from singing their national anthem before the kick-off of their first match of the World Cup-2022 against England, Monday in Doha. During the week, their captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh had explained that the players would decide “collectively” whether or not to sing the national anthem as a sign of support for the victims of the harshly repressed demonstrations in their country.

On the English side, captain Harry Kane has given up wearing the inclusive colored armband One Love, the seven federations which intended to do so having backtracked on Monday, faced with the threat of sports sanctions from Fifa. The English however knelt down as they usually do to denounce all forms of discrimination.

► Netherlands – Senegal: 2-0, a snatch victory

The Netherlands managed to win against Senegal after a game closer than expected. Cody Gakpo opened the scoring with a header in the 84th minute, before Davy Klaassen doubled the lead after stoppage time in the 90th + 9.

Prior to that, the two Group A favorites had overall looked like a not-to-lose game rather than a must-win.

This match was the first between the two teams in all competitions. Holland, which never lost its first match in the World Cup (6 wins and 2 draws), honored the tradition and broke the good Senegalese series (two wins in their opening matches in the World Cup).

► United States – Wales, a match that promises to be balanced

For the last match of the day, the United States (16th in the FIFA rankings) will face Wales (19th) in a game that promises to be balanced. The American selection did not qualify in 2018 to everyone’s surprise.

The Welsh will be led by their superstar, Gareth Bale, former Real Madrid player and champion in the American football league this year. For their part, the United States can count on players who have proven themselves in Europe, such as Weston McKennie with Juventus or Christian Pulisic with Chelsea.



World Cup 2022: the Blues, weakened defending champions

The scenario, dramatic, repeats itself. An injury, medical examinations, then the announcement that falls like a cleaver: that of a new package to be deplored. For several months, the bad news has been linked for the French football team, while the World Cup in Qatar, where it presents itself as defending champion, has just started. The trend has not reversed a few dozen hours before the kickoff of the first match of the Blues, Tuesday, November 22 at 8 p.m. against Australia.

On Saturday evening, France striker Karim Benzema withdrew after injuring his thigh during training. Three days earlier, 25-year-old Christopher Nkunku, injured in his knee, made the same forced decision. Before them, the pillars of the 2018 victory Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defender Presnel Kimpembe had already announced that they would not take part in the competition.

Olivier Giroud, the best equipped to replace Karim Benzema

To remedy this, Didier Deschamps opted for a larger group. Without Pogba or Kanté, the midfielder of the France team is bald. The coach was diplomatic with the newcomers: “You know what the two absent ones represent in terms of experience, of leadership. Fortunately, in the various gatherings, these new players had some playing time.

For the former physical trainer of the Blues, Éric Bedouet, present during the 2014 World Cup, the summoned midfielders have a card to play. The latter recalls that “Youssouf Fofana knows Aurélien Tchouaméni by heart, having worked alongside him in Monaco, who himself now rubs shoulders with Eduardo Camavinga at Real Madrid. »

In attack, Olivier Giroud is the best equipped to replace Karim Benzema. Holder in Russia, four years ago, and author of a very good start to the season with AC Milan, he has often been compared to his injured compatriot. A rivalry maintained mainly by the media, according to Éric Bedouet.

“I remember a game in Brazil where Giroud and Benzema were playing together on the pitch. At the end, Olivier found that his match had not been at the level.he recalls. “I showed him his match stats and said ‘Look at the numbers, the number of runs you’ve made to unsettle the opposition, assists etc. That’s how Karim scored.” He was reassured. That’s a group. »

Heal the egos

By summoning a larger group, the staff of the France team will have to heal the egos between the indisputable holders and the others. “Will they all have playing time? I don’t have the answer today”conceded Didier Deschamps, recalling that his main objective, with his staff,is not to lose anyone”.

“You never know what can happen during a competition, so everyone is likely to playrecalls Éric Bedouet. If Didier takes them, it’s because he knows that these are players who will blend into the collective. A group is built like that. If you take someone who absolutely wants to enter the field but you take him as a substitute, it can create problems. »

“It’s often the substitutes that make the group work”

For the specialist, “Each player is carefully monitored throughout the year. There are correspondences between the staff of the France team and the clubs to find out the personality of one or another. he explains. If a player is selected because of his sporting skills, the fact remains that he will also be selected for his ability to accept remaining on the bench and to take on a more secondary role..

“In reality, it is often the substitutes who make the group work well. Take the example of Adil Rami in 2018”, advises Eric Bedouet. In Russia, the defender had not played a single minute in the seven games of the Blues. However, all his teammates had insisted on the leading role of number 17 during the competition. Jovial and a joker, he had contributed in his own way to making this group welded and united. Condition sine qua non to aim for a new coronation.


The Blues, always present at the highest level

France is taking part in Qatar in its 16e World Cup. It’s his 7e consecutive appearance, the longest streak in its history.

By combining Mondial and Euro, France participates in its 14e consecutive major tournament. The Habs have not been absent from a major international tournament since the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

The reigning world champions won their opening match in only three of the last twelve editions of the World Cup.

This is the 5e consecutive major tournament of Didier Deschamps as coach of France, a national record.



World Cup 2022: Iranian players show their opposition to the regime

And meanwhile, on the other side of the Persian Gulf, the demonstrations continue, the repression too. Two months after the death of the young Mahsa Amini, the protest movement is not running out of steam in Iran, nor is the firmness of the regime weakening against this wind of revolt. The “Team Melli”, the national football team which starts its third consecutive World Cup against England on Monday, November 21, obviously reflects the sad face of the news.

The selection is usually unanimous. “It is a very powerful vector of national feeling in Iran, and both for nationals and for the diasporaunderlines the ethnologist Christian Bromberger, specialist in Iran and the popular passion for the round ball. The World Cup is a major event, especially since Iran has good relations with Qatar. But this time, the team is struggling to unite around her. »

Players dare to support protesters

Players have from the beginning of the movement supported the demonstrators. The star of the group, Sardar Azmoun, striker playing in Germany at Bayer Leverkusen, quickly expressed his indignation on Instagram: “Shame on you for killing the people so easily and long live the women of Iran!” » On September 27, before a preparation match for the World Cup against Senegal, in an Austrian stadium behind closed doors, the entire selection at the time of the hymns wore a black parka with no distinctive mark and hiding the national jersey. Just before the start of the World Cup, defender Saman Ghoddos, the only one to play in the Premier League (after three years in Amiens), dared in the English press: “People don’t want anything special, just freedom. Something has to change because it’s been going on too long. »

Some supporters applauded, others howled betrayal, while still others considered on social networks that the players, when leaving their country, had not distanced themselves enough from the regime. In any case, none were excluded for their positions. In Qatar, for his first press conference on November 15, the Portuguese coach of the Iranian team Carlos Queiroz defined the framework: “Players can protest as long as it complies with World Cup regulations,” he blurted out.

The Team Melli strategist only wants to talk about football. He has real support from the authorities. The qualification campaign in Qatar took place without him, but the Lusitano, already in charge at the 2014 and 2018 Worlds, was recalled at the beginning of September to the helm by the new president of the Iranian Football Federation, Mehdi Taj, elected a month earlier and a former member of the Revolutionary Guards, therefore very close to the regime.

Distrust persists for the regime

A regime that still maintains an ambivalent relationship with its selection. “Historically, the government has had more regard for wrestling, the other national sportexplains Christian Bromberger. The Pasdarans in particular have a low opinion of footballers, even though they also own many clubs. In fact, the authorities seek to exploit football while being wary of it. They will also avoid live broadcasts of the World Cup and shift them by two or three minutes to be able to react in case. »

In 2009, some players of the selection had already not hesitated to play while wearing a green armband of support for the movement, then contesting the re-election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Among them, Ali Karimi, one of the country’s most famous internationals, now retired in Dubai and who shouts down the current regime on his 14 million Instagram account. followers.

The regime is all the more uncomfortable with football as another issue disturbs it: the presence of women in the stands. The last country in the Middle East to ban it, Iran continues to oscillate on the matter. In January 2022, female supporters were allowed for an Iran-Iraq, but excluded again in March for Iran-Lebanon. In August, a few hundred female supporters were able to attend a league match for the first time. An opening, however, without a future. A great classic of the Iranian regime.


An experienced team

Iran remains on its best result in the World Cup, won in 2018 in Russia. “Team Melli” had narrowly failed to qualify for the round of 16 for the first time, with a victory (against Morocco, 1-0) and a draw (against Portugal, 1-1) in group stage. To face England, Wales and the United States this time, coach Carlos Queiroz bet on a very experienced group, including 16 players who were already present in Russia. Iran, today in twentieth place in the FIFA rankings, is also the nation with the highest average age in the competition: 29 years and 154 days.



World Cup 2022: Qatar celebrates its World Cup, but falls from the start

The 22e edition of the FIFA World Cup began on Sunday 20 November with the first match between host country Qatar and Ecuador. A short opening ceremony, placed under the sign of the “respect and inclusion”according to the organizers, preceded the meeting in which the host country lost (2-0).

Despite the many criticisms heard of Qatar, many heads of state had responded favorably to the host country’s invitation. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed ben Salmane was present, as were Palestinian Presidents Mahmoud Abbas, Algerian Abdelmadjid Tebboune, or former footballer George Weah, President of Liberia. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach were also in the stadium. France, the reigning world champion, was represented by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Ecuador starts well

The opening ceremony concluded, it was time for the game. The host country began its match against a restless and collective team from Ecuador. And the sporting spectacle was there. The striker Enner Valencia became the first scorer of the World Cup by scoring on a penalty that he himself caused, in the 16the minute. Ten minutes earlier, the Ecuadorian captain had been deprived of a goal for an unclear offside.

Faced with a wait-and-see Qataris under pressure for their first match, the Ecuadorian players then wandered off. Valencia, strong man of the match, did it again by doubling the lead with a magnificent header in the 31ste minute, to conclude a convincing half-time.

A lackluster second half

Stunned, the locals tried, somehow, to pull themselves together after returning from the locker room. But the vigilance of the Ecuadorians, added to the little reaction of the Qatari coach, the Spanish coach, Félix Sánchez Bas, did not allow a reversal of the situation, in a rather dull second act. With this victory, Ecuador is at the top of Group A and Qatar is dead last. In the same group, the Netherlands meet Senegal on Monday 21 November.



France, Brazil, Spain: who are the favorites for the 2022 World Cup?

Everyone has an opinion on the matter. In Qatar, 32 teams from all over the world dream of the coronation. If the games are far from over, one thing is certain: the analysis of statistics has never been so trendy for a World Cup.

France among the favorites

The company Opta, specialized in this field, is formal: France would have a 17.93% chance of retaining its title, four years after its victory in Russia. The tricolor team is among the favorites because of its prolific attack, even without the big absentee at the last minute, the Golden Ball, Karim Benzema. Behind, Brazil, five times world champion, ranks second with 15.73% chance of victory, followed by Spain (11.53%).

If the statistics are enough to make some optimists, they can make others bitter. According to Opta, three teams have no chance of being crowned world champions: Cameroon, Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica. With the top African country, Senegal, ranking 22nd, it would be surprising to see a team from the continent win for the first time in history.

For its part, the British newspaper The Telegraph has established a panel of predictions from bookmakers and other online betting sites. Brazil is the favorite to win the Cup, with England as finalist, already unfortunate runner-up at the previous Euro.

How do you decide who is favourite?

How, exactly, are these probabilities assessed? “When we talk to club performance managers, we understand that we are moving more and more towards football characterized by high intensity, with very high pressing. From there, we can assume that the selections with players accustomed to this rhythm will be able to act as favorites ”, explains Florent Toniutti, editorial manager of the analysis site Coparena.

As for the choice of the bookmakers to put Brazil as favourites, it is, according to him, above all the fact that in each position, the reservoir of Brazilian players seems to be the most solid. “Unlike Brazil, the France team still has a midfield to rethink, with all the injured players”, compare the expert.

Beyond numbers, the beauty of sport

However, Florent Toniutti recognizes that these statistics which have invaded football “can never reflect a strict reality”. Moreover, if these forecasts can be relevant for the clubs, which play every week and thus provide regular data, it applies less well to the national selections which meet only episodically.

“Not all teams will have enough time to prepare. Which suggests that surprises are possible and that favorites could fall earlier than expected. anticipates Florent Toniutti. Bookmakers and online betting sites, he adds, “have always been able to name favorites, never really winners. And fortunately, otherwise, what’s the point of fighting on the ground? “.



World Cup 2022: Karim Benzema package, the Blues groggy

The French world champions woke up on Sunday November 20 without Karim Benzema, Ballon d’Or struck down by a new injury. Another blow for the Blues before facing Australia at the World Cup on Tuesday (kick-off at 8 p.m.).

The series of injured continues to shake up the French team and the latest episode takes the form of a violent shock: the Real Madrid striker is on the ground, like before him Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, Mike Maignan , Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku.

It’s a ” sledgehammer “, summarizes the daily La Provence en Une, when the sports newspaper L’Equipe headlines on the “ Lead Balloon “. Benzema” sees his hopes of winning the World Cup with the Blues dashed, one of his goals as he reported after receiving the Ballon d’Or on October 17 sums up Le Progrès, the flagship daily of his native region.

Convalescent for a month, Benzema hoped to see the end of the tunnel on Saturday, participating in his first collective training with the Blues. But he had to cut it short, victim of a “ lesion “left thigh muscle” which will require a recovery period of three weeks “, explained the Federation.

“Leave my seat”

In my life I have never given up but tonight I have to think about the team as I always have “, reacted the striker on Instagram, on the night of Saturday to Sunday. ” Reason tells me to leave my place to someone who can help our group have a good World Cup “. At 34, Benzema will probably never play a second World Cup, after that of 2014 which he finished in the quarter-finals, in the shoes of France’s top scorer.

FIFA regulations allow Didier Deschamps to call a new player until Monday, the day before France-Australia, to make a last-minute replacement in the event of injury. But he can also decide to keep a group of 25 players. To defend their 2018 title, the Blues will have to do without the former Lyonnais, who returned to favor last year after his banishment (2015-2021) following the “sextape affair”.

More than ever, Paris SG star Kylian Mbappé finds himself at the center of expectations. The attack tank remains well filled, however, with Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé, Kingsley Coman, Marcus Thuram, Randal Kolo Muani … and Olivier Giroud, eternal return and first applicant to replace Benzema.

mysterious evil

A rather thick haze has surrounded Benzema’s state of health since mid-October. He had been complaining of persistent discomfort in his right thigh for several weeks, without the nature of his physical problems being clearly established.

He had played his last match in full on October 19, an Elche-Real won 3-0 by Madrid with a goal from the Frenchman, crowned Ballon d’Or two days earlier in Paris. And he had only been able to play since then for about thirty minutes on November 2 in the Champions League. The stretch of his recovery period began to raise questions on the eve of the World Cup, in particular his ability to repeat high-intensity efforts in the heat of Qatar.



2022 World Cup: TF1, BeIN… On which channel will we be able to watch the matches?

From the opening match on November 20 to the final on December 18, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will offer football fans no less than 64 games to watch. All matches will be broadcast on the various BeIN Sports channels. Those who only have free-to-air channels at their disposal will however be able to find the most beautiful competition posters on TF1.

The unencrypted channel will broadcast a total of 28 World Cup matches, including all the matches of the France team, from the start to the end of the competition. During the group stages, TF1 will also broadcast one match per evening, at 8 p.m. This will lead to the evening news being brought forward to 7:20 p.m.

For the second phase, those of the knockout matches, TF1 has the right to choose three of the eight round of 16. The channel will then broadcast three of the four quarter-finals, then will offer the entire end of the competition: the two semi-finals, the small final for the 3e place and then the grand finale.

Sunday November 20

5 p.m.: Qatar – Ecuador on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Monday November 21

2 p.m.: England v Iran on BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Senegal – Netherlands on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: United States – Wales on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Tuesday, November 22

11 a.m.: Argentina v Saudi Arabia on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: Denmark – Tunisia on BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Mexico v Poland on BeIN Sports

20 hours : FRANCE – Australia on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Wednesday, November 23

11 a.m.: Morocco – Croatia on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: Germany v Japan on BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Spain v Costa Rica on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Belgium – Canada on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Thursday, November 24

11 a.m.: Switzerland – Cameroon on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: Uruguay – South Korea on BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Portugal v Ghana on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Brazil – Serbia on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Friday November 25

11 a.m.: Wales – Iran on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: Qatar – Senegal on BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Netherlands – Ecuador on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: England – United States on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Saturday November 26

11 a.m.: Tunisia – Australia on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: Poland v Saudi Arabia on BeIN Sports

17 hours : FRANCE – Denmark on TF1 and BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Argentina – Mexico on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Sunday November 27

11 a.m.: Japan – Costa Rica on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: Belgium – Morocco on TF1 and BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Croatia v Canada on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Spain – Germany on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Monday, November 28

11 a.m.: Cameroon – Serbia on BeIN Sports

2 p.m.: South Korea – Ghana on BeIN Sports

5 p.m.: Brazil v Switzerland on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Portugal – Uruguay on TF1 and BeIN Sports

Tuesday, November 29

4 p.m.: Netherlands v Qatar on BeIN Sports

4 p.m.: Ecuador – Senegal on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Wales – England on TF1 and BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Iran – United States on BeIN Sports

Wednesday, November 30

4 p.m.: Tunisia – FRANCE on TF1 and BeIN Sports

4 p.m.: Australia v Denmark on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Poland – Argentina on TF1 and BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Saudi Arabia v Mexico on BeIN Sports

Thursday, December 1

4 p.m.: Croatia v Belgium on BeIN Sports

4 p.m.: Canada – Morocco on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Japan – Spain on TF1 and BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Costa Rica – Germany on BeIN Sports

Friday, December 2

4 p.m.: South Korea – Portugal on BeIN Sports

4 p.m.: Ghana – Uruguay on BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Cameroon – Brazil on TF1 and BeIN Sports

8 p.m.: Serbia v Switzerland on BeIN Sports

From Saturday 3 to Sunday 18 December

For the knockout matches, TF1 has not yet made its choice for the round of 16 and quarter-finals. The matches that the channel will broadcast will be fixed according to the teams that will be qualified and the interest of the various scheduled matches. BeIN Sports will continue to broadcast all matches, including those that will also be on TF1.



World Cup 2022: ambitious and secretive, the Qatar team faces its biggest challenge

A victory to start? For the host team of Qatar, succeeding in the opening of its World Cup against Ecuador would be more than a performance: a real feat. Never has an Arab selection from the Asia zone managed to win its first match in a World Cup. For the better, the chronicle retains only two draws: in 1982 for Kuwait (1-1 against Czechoslovakia) and in 2006 for Saudi Arabia (2-2 against Tunisia).

With its modest 6,000 licensees, Qatar nevertheless intends to change the situation, and prove that its passion for football is not just a whim of emirs. “Football is really the flagship discipline of Qataris, assures Raphaël Le Magoariec, geopolitical scientist specializing in sports policies in the Gulf countries(1). The country clearly shows the desire to rise to the level of the best nations in the Arab world, as its hopefuls were able to do in the 1980s at a time when football business did not yet reign. »

The Aspire Academy, flagship program

In 1981, under the leadership of a Brazilian technician at the Under-20 World Cup, the Qatari selection had reached the final, admittedly lost against Germany (0-4), but after having eliminated Brazil in the quarter (3- 2) and England in half (2-1). The same generation distinguished itself in 1984 in the first round of the Los Angeles Games by snatching a draw (1-1) from France, soon to be Olympic champion. But then the moose got bogged down in the desert sands. The low pool does not ensure succession.

The emirate then counts on the recruitment at high prices of foreign technicians in charge of looking elsewhere for talents to naturalize to feed the national selection. This strategy was systematized with the opening of the Aspire Academy in 2005. It is a question of “aspiring” young African and South American recruits, especially, and training them in this institution which is the pride of the family. reigning. The program has had a few ups but mostly downs, including the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the last fires of a team ultimately having too many foreigners for the taste of the supporters.

The Aspire program has since focused on nurturing young local players who feed 75% of the current squad. At the wand, Catalan Felix Sanchez, former FC Barcelona training center, hired at Aspire in 2006 and national coach since 2017. He will grow his troops and now speaks of it as a ” family “. These young people went to harden one or two years in Europe, in second-tier clubs in which Qatar has invested: Eupen in Belgium, Linz in Austria and Leonesa in Spain.

A level still unclear

“They go there to rub shoulders with European methods, learn the culture of winning, but then come back to Qatar League clubs where they gain playing time rather than waxing the bench in more prestigious teams in Europe, explains Raphaël Le Magoariec. The players are also not keen to go and rub shoulders with European football, with its passions and excesses. They prefer to stay in the Qatari cocoon, and the emirate also intends to have them available and under control. »

The method is good. Qatar won the Asian title for the first time in February 2019 by beating Japan (3-1). In 2010, when the World Cup was awarded, he was in 113th place in the FIFA rankings and is now at 50th.

Still, it is difficult to get a real idea of ​​its current level. Against Portugal, Serbia or Ireland in 2021, Qatar hardly made the weight. He has certainly chained four victories in his last preparation matches, but against modest teams: Guatemala (2-0), Honduras (1-0), Panama (2-1) and Albania (1- 0).

“It’s all about motivation, concludes Raphaël Le Magoariec. These players fight mostly when the stakes are high. They are ready and should not be taken lightly. »