Naked football facts, plus the deployment of various kitchen sinks | World Cup 2022


Absolutely nothing is ruled out in these Human Rights World Cup finals. Despite all of Gianni Infantino’s protests, his pre-tournament “shut up and dribble” message was about as effective as Serbia’s offside trap against Cameroon striker Vincent “Scoop” Aboubakar. So if HRWC 2022 proves anything, it’s that history is rarely forgotten. And that means you Ingerlund-supporting berks who think it’s a wheeze to visit the real Middle East in crusader costumes. You didn’t do history in school… oh, what’s the point?

Wales v England will invoke many historic cross-border connotations when they collide on Tuesday night: Llywelyn The Great, Owain Glyndŵr, David Lloyd-George, Barry John, Max Boyce and all that. But for pure geopolitical white heat, and with my apologies to Plaid Cymru, there’s nothing on the other Group B game being played at the same time. A victory for Iran or the United States! UNITED STATES!! UNITED STATES!!! guarantees progression to the last 16. These are the bare facts of football, but the buildup has seen a massive rollout of the chucking-in-the-kitchen-sink discussion school heavily represented in this HRWC.

Tyler Adams showed true diplomacy by sending a volley from an Iranian journalist about Black Lives Matter, after he was initially criticized for his pronunciation of the word “Iran”, for which he apologized. Iranian coach Carlos Queiroz, who just covered for Jürgen Klinsmann for cultural insensitivity, then cited shootings at American schools. This came in response to the United States Soccer Federation displaying an Iranian flag without the Islamic Republic emblem in a now-deleted tweet; it’s by no means just Iranians lobbing down that kitchen sink. The move awkwardly fanned the fires of serious and heartbreaking events in Iran, where women fighting for basic human rights have a country teetering between sweeping social change and vicious repressions by the regime in Tehran.

The most significant political gesture of this tournament was the refusal of the Iranian players to sing their national anthem before their opening match against England. This happened amid a real and lingering fear of retaliation. Against Wales in their second game, the anthem was half-heartedly sung. Now for a game against the country known as the “Great Satan”, with which diplomatic relations have been sketchy at best since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Memories of the World Cup abound, of course, of the meeting of the teams in 1998, Iran winning 2-1 in Lyon, the players having gathered for a photo-call with friends before the match. More of the same? The rebirth of the HRWC is a supreme test of that unifying force in football that Infantino never ceases to tout.


Join John Brewin from 3pm GMT for MBM coverage of Ecuador 1-1 Senegal, while Barry Glendenning will be on deck for Netherlands 2-0 Qatar at the same time. Then Rob Smyth will be your guide at 19:00 GMT for Wales 1-1 England, when Tom Lutz will also be driving for Iran 1-1 USA! UNITED STATES!! UNITED STATES!!!


“They go on until 4 or 5 a.m. and watch all the good comments and enjoy all that sh1te, and it affects sleep patterns. You’re up until 5 a.m. watching great comments, and the same people supporting you are the ones killing you the next day. So get rid of it, don’t watch it’ – Australia coach Graham Arnold warns his players of the dangers of social media ahead of their fiery final group game against Denmark.

Straya players during training. Photography: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The Big Website World Cup guide for 830 players is a wonderful document (presumably no contribution from Football Daily). However, the Senegalese defender with No.24 was included as ‘Moustapha Name’. Perhaps, for the sake of completeness, a little more work was needed? –John Lawton.

He is real

According to my research, England have been knocked out of the World Cup nine times in the Round of 16. 1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2018. The one thing these games all have in common is that, on TV coverage, England start each of these games attacking from the left first half time. . Chance? Of course not, can someone let Gareth know. PS. You might want to check out my ‘research’” – Tim Evenden.

After the 3-3 draw against Cameroon I wonder if my Serbia is: 1) The laughing stock of this HR World Cup; 2) The most entertaining team; 3) The worst defense in the competition; 4) Qatar’s most unpredictable team; or 5) possibly all of the items mentioned above. We can all be confused here (our defense is certainly 100%) confused about who we are, but at least it’s never boring with our national team” – Bogdan Kotarlic.

Send your letters to And you can still tweet Football Daily while you can – hey Elon! – Going through @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our invaluable letter of the day is… Bogdan Kotarlic.

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