Three weeks of glory for who?
As the great and good of Fifa along with their wives, acolytes, partners and concubines prepare to enjoy another luxurious summer junket at the expense of football fans the world cup which gets underway in a little over a week will at least provide a diversion from the cripplingly tedious charade of the transfer market.
The final cut of national squads for the upcoming world cup has been made and those players missing out on the jamboree can look forward to benefiting from a summer spent more productively in readying themselves for proper football in August. It is that and that alone that earns them the opportunity of frivolous indulgence in national tournaments. Meanwhile, amidst all the flag waving and painted faces, footballing nations will attempt to prove the superiority of their nation state over other nation states. An endeavour that becomes more amusing with each tournament as national purity gives way to pragmatism and Germany lines up with 3 Poles a Bosnian and a Brazilian, Portugal include 2 Brazilians a Venezuelan and a Canadian while Italy also smuggle in an Argentinean as the adopted sons of Africa help support the French squad and the Swiss take a similarly liberal attitude to nationality.
International tournaments have long seemed just a carnival to me but it does provide a platform on which reputations can be enhanced even if often falsely. "Anyone can have three weeks of glory" Wenger observed recently.
So there is an opportunity to bask in the potential reflected success if one of our own has a great three weeks. If I`m honest I suppose that is the only reason I`d show much interest in any of the games other than the hope that, as Brazil have done in the past but look less equipped to do now, at least one team can provide an exhilarating display of football that makes the whole event stand up and applaud the beautiful game as opposed to Jorge Valdano`s 'shit-on-a-stick` affairs. Let`s hope someone produces some samba football to cheer.
So who currently wearing Arsenal colours for their proper job will prosper in the summer`s holiday camp football tournament? Though a couple may have one foot in or out of the club we have a few to look out for: Vela with Mexico, Sagna, Gallas, Diaby and Clichy with France, van Persie with Netherlands, Bendtner with Denmark, Song with Cameroon, Eboue with Ivory Coast and Fabregas with Spain. Technically Senderos is still an Arsenal player until the end of June so something of a shop window opportunity for him. Is there anyone there that might achieve their 3 weeks of glory? I wouldn`t put too much money on Mexico or Denmark going too far which might limit Vela and Bendtners opportunities to impress. My interest in them is compromised just a little by Cesc`s disloyalty but Spain has enough obvious quality to do well. Though the African nations are a bit of a wild card they are playing on their home continent and maybe Cameroon or the Ivory Coast might provide the opportunity for Song or Eboue to prosper in the carnival. If he can stay fit then van Persie has the world class talent to make this a bit of a showpiece for him but that rather depends on the team around him going far enough and for him to stay uninjured. Not a combination you`d expect too good odds on I fear.
That leaves our French contingent then. Unless Evra gets nobbled we won`t see too much of Clichy I suspect and class defenders though they are Sagna and Gallas could perform really well but defenders tend not to capture the glory moments in the way that midfielders and forwards do in these competitions. That leaves Diaby and with Diarra out his chances of playing must have increased. While Domenech is rightly ridiculed in many quarters he has a pretty experienced squad which, though it might have to rely on the 'fewest mistakes` theory, is capable of going a reasonable way in the competition in which case Diaby, who is capable of eye catching moments, may catch the eye so it could be worth keeping one out for him.
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