Jonathan Wilson discusses a significant qualifier for the 2014 World Cup: Montenegro versus Moldova. “While it may be crunch time for England,” Wilson writes, “for a country with a population of 600,000 this is an opportunity for glory they and their restored goalkeeper will be desperate to grasp.”
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney avoids giving a definitive statement on whether he will stay at Manchester United. (Getty Images)
Rooney on Manchester United
Wayne Rooney discusses his “disillusionment” with Manchester United. He is reportedly “happy” and “settled” at Old Trafford under new leadership, but the England striker “notably stopped short when asked to clarify whether that meant he wanted to stay in Manchester or if he would renew his attempts to leave next summer.”
Mirror Football’s Mike Walters explores an issued raised by Manchester United’s “courting of teen sensation Adnan Januzaj: “should players with little more than a professional reason for being in a country be selected to represent it?”
FIFA and Qatar 2022
International Business Times (IBT) the newest person to voice concerns over the 2022 World Cup. “Leading London-based LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell has called on FIFA to cancel the 2022 World Cup over reports that Gulf Cooperation Countries will introduce medical screening tests to ‘detect’ and ban homosexuals entering the countries,” IBT writes.
Former Football Association chairman David Triesman (far right) targets FIFA President Sepp Blatter in his commentary on FIFA’s “ugly culture.” (Getty Images)
Keir Radnedge offers a commentary on the growing list of individuals and groups voicing worries about Qatar 2022: “The Premier League is far from alone in its concerns about the prospective turbulence of a switch to a winter World Cup in 2022.”
Former English FA chairman David Triesman tells CNN, “I thought [FIFA] was a very difficult body to deal with – I think its culture is very ugly.” Triesman spent “countless days dealing with FIFA” during the 2018 World Cup bidding process; ultimately England lost the bid to Russia. According to Triesman, FIFA can repair its “tarnished image through a metaphorical clearing out of the Augean Stables.” He specifically targets FIFA president Sepp Blatter and discusses the FIFA culture, the 2022 World Cup controversy, and the “suspicious” approach the FA takes when dealing with world football’s governing body.
In Other News
The Telegraph’s David Winner reports on former Arsenal icon Dennis Bergkamp’s desires to return to Arsenal. “[He] has been inspired by the performances of Mesut Ozil and believes he can play a role in helping the club to major honors,” Winner writes.
USA Today features a story on a wedding between two footballers from the United States – Abby Wambach and Sarah Huffman.
Tongala is a “fairly unremarkable” Australian outback town with a “forgotten story:” it was in Tongala that nearly 100 years ago a “once-great Scottish striker took up another, altogether more lethal, form of shooting.” The Guardian recounts Alex “Sandy” Young’s fall from Everton glory. Young was Everton’s match-winner in the 1906 Football Association (FA) Cup final. “He went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City,” The Guardian’s Simon Burnton writes. “An intriguing personality, the Liverpool Echo described him as ‘one of the most fascinating players that ever toed a ball’ – and that was before he emigrated to Australia and killed his brother.”
Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos. (Getty Images)
Gabriele Marcotti covers a discussion about diving and “what can be done about it.” The “diving debate” brings up resolutions such as: “hit players with fines, form a committee, or retroactively punish athletes.” Brazilian footballer Neymar currently faces scrutiny for possible dives, but Marcotti feels “soccer’s ‘powers that be’ would be smart to avoid the ambiguous and focus on the egregious.”
ESPN FC’s Graham Hunter maps out “five dilemmas” facing Real Madrid such as: Carlos Ancelotti and matching personnel to formation, the team’s defense, and Xabi Alonso in the midfield.
World Soccer Talk features a “heartwarming story” from the football world: “immediately after his team’s match against Benfica, former Barcelona player Zlatan Ibrahimovic boarded a flight to Sarajevo to grant a dying child’s wish.”