Qatar down to earth
as “Biggest and best World Cup ever” FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced the major tournament in Qatar. However, yesterday’s opening match between the host country and Ecuador made it clear that this is far from reality. The game, which the South Americans won 2-0, was monotonous and not very entertaining. The stadium was already half empty at half-time. The English newspaper ‘The Guardian’ responded to the embarrassing appearance with a devastating verdict: “After all the money, there is a humiliation for Qatar.” The paper goes on to say: “We have been told again and again how important this World Cup is to the Qataris. Now, when it comes down to it, they’re gone real quick.” Reports about bought fans and staged TV pictures cast an additional bad light on this “worrying endeavors”as the ‘Marca’ calls the World Cup.
Alba with declaration of war
Spain wants to win another World Cup. For Furia Roja it would be the first major title in ten years after the triumph at the EM 2012. The Spanish ‘as’ therefore headlines today’s issue with a quote from Jordi Alba: “Our strength is the group.” If you look at the facts, the 33-year-old is not that wrong. With an average age of 25.3 years, Spain has a relatively young squad compared to the other teams. Coach Luis Enrique has managed to form a good mix of established and experienced players as well as young and cheeky talents. Alba, who helped win the title in 2012, is full of praise for his coach. “Luis Enrique is the best coach in the world”, said the left-back from FC Barcelona. It could be the last World Cup for the nimble defender. With the “golden mix”as he calls the selection, he absolutely wants to be as successful as possible. “We want to end this World Cup with as many wins as possible, also because it could be my last.”
Double duel for France striker
The likenesses of Olivier Giroud and Marcus Thuram are emblazoned on the front page of the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’. The two forwards currently play side-by-side in the France national team but could soon face each other on the pitch. The newspaper reports that Inter Milan is increasingly interested in signing Thuram in winter. The Nerazzurri therefore want to meet the son of France legend Lilian Thuram on site in Qatar to talk about a change. Giroud, who is under contract with Inter’s city rivals AC Milan, is also vying with Thuram for a starting XI spot in the Équipe Tricolore attack. After the injury of world footballer Karim Benzema, coach Didier Deschamps is now spoiled for choice.