first week and more policy

We are here. After months of controversy, more or less open calls for boycotts, and diplomatic breakdowns, the 2022 FIFA World Cup opened this Sunday in Qatar.

Although the organizers and heads of state – Emmanuel Macron in the lead – have done everything to depoliticize the event, the first days of the competition show that there is a politics to the start of the group stages.

An overview of these early days, without forgetting, of course, the results!

we liked it

Refusal to sing the anthem of Iranian players

While their country has been experiencing a feminist uprising for several weeks now, Iran’s qualifiers have been taught a great lesson in politics in their second game of this World Cup against England.

The football players honored the memory of the victims of repression in the country, which, according to the UN, has already killed more than 300 people, by remaining silent during the playing of the national anthem.

England fell to its knees

Same match, same treatment suits the players. After their colleagues refused to sing the anthem, England decided to start the match by kneeling, a symbol of the fight against discrimination widely used in sport across the Channel and across the Atlantic.

The symbol, a historic gesture in the fight against racism, was popularized again in 2016 by American football player Colin Kaepernick to denounce police violence against black people in the United States.

A good performance by the Blues against Australia

There are good reasons to be happy on the sports side as well. The Blues’ sensational entry into the competition is undeniable.

After a disastrous start to the match, the Blues quickly recovered with a heartbreaking defensive block that saw the world champions concede a goal in the opening minutes.

The revolt was sparked moments later by Adrien Rabiot’s header, which was found by Olivier Giroud at the start of the second goal.

The Blues then managed to dominate the match against an unpredictable Australian side, allowing Olivier Giroud – him again – and Kilian M’bappe to score.

A great performance that removed all doubts about this team, who will need to show a more confident face than the first minutes against Denmark on Saturday.

He scored a goal in history

Still on the blue side, how could we not mention Olivier Giroud’s brace against Australia, which saw him equal France’s goalscoring record with 51?

All that’s left now is to break the record in the next few matches so that the oft-maligned striker will surely return to the Pantheon of France’s greatest players.

We liked it less

Qatar’s entry into the competition

This is no surprise to anyone: Qatar is not a football country. But we still expected better from the World Cup host team.

The Qataris, who took the lead from the 16th minute, were unable to string together quality collective phases of the game and never showed the ability to take the lead.

So they luckily become the first host nation to lose their opening game, symbolizing that money can’t buy everything.

Lack of atmosphere in stadiums

The lack of sports culture will not always be able to save the world audience from the dull atmosphere of the first matches in the stadiums.

Empty stands at the end of the first half in the opening match, a sparse crowd for the defending champion’s first match against Australia on Tuesday… In a country where the national sport is more cricket than football, the Maracana and Stade de France seem far away.

Recurring injuries and missing stars

It won’t catch any fans off guard: many football stars won’t be on the field during this competition.

The list of those who did not participate in the French qualifiers is enough to make football fans regret: Pogba, Kimpembe, Kante, Benzema…

That doesn’t count Lucas Hernandez’s injury Tuesday night against Australia, which has officially ruled him out since Tuesday.

Before the tournament, other players had to give up their dreams, such as Moroccan striker Amine Harit, who was injured before the tournament began.

Far from being mere physical threats, this spate of injuries is the logical consequence of a sporting calendar that has been overturned to accommodate Qatar’s demands. This will force players to play a large number of games in a row during the first part of the regular season while going into the world unhealed or underprepared.

A list of shame

FIFA furious over armband

While we thought FIFA was already embarrassed by the numerous scandals surrounding the World Cup and its alleged criminal complicity, it’s getting more and more obscene.

This time he attacked 7 choices who planned to wear a bandage on his arm with a very political and controversial message: “One love”.

A symbol of rejection of all forms of discrimination, wearing such a badge is punishable by a yellow card for anyone wearing it. A threat that will cause options to refuse to use it.

Behind FIFA’s actions is also the cowardice of federations and heads of state: if the leaders of the countries firmly approve the rejection of such blackmail, how can one imagine the institution to start real sanctions?

FIFA censors supporters

Certainly, FIFA knows how to be a staunch ally of the Qatari dictatorship to prevent any form of political protest during the World Cup.

After confiscating “Woman, Life, Freedom” signs from Iranian supporters during a match against England, it was Welsh fans who were censored for not being allowed into the stadium for wearing rainbow hats, a symbol of the fight against discrimination against LGBTI people. .

Censorship led to the blocking of official photos of German players before the first game against Japan.

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