A Friday night and Saturday evening have been dedicated to watching European championship qualifiers. Regular readers know I blow hot and cold over international matches these days. In the long run I wonder how long the clubs that generate massive wealth and supply the expensive players will be governed by the apparently corrupt bodies running football today. That is a question for a bigger post than should grace a blog.
The beauty of having become over time an Arsenal supporter first, and an England supporter second, is that I have no qualms about watching the other national sides and appreciating them in a way that I will never be able to take pleasure in any of our domestic rivals successes.
First up was the land of my birth and the pleasure of watching Danny Welbeck grab a sixth goal of the qualifying campaign and also providing an assist for Rooney. Danny was unanimously declared the man of the match, but succumbed to a knee injury late on. It was confirmed earlier that the injury is serious enough for him to miss the friendly against Italy in the coming week. More than that it would be unwise to speculate as to the extent of his knock.
Likewise that apparently suffered by Aaron Ramsey this evening (Saturday) as Wales cruised to an impressive win against an Israel side that went into the match with a 100% record. Rambo, like Welbeck a goalscorer and creator for his country, walked off when substituted so let’s hope that it proves to have been a sensible precautionary measure with the match already well won.
Thankfully there are no further reports of mishaps suffered by Arsenal’s internationals, but we won’t be heaving a collective sigh of relief until Tuesday’s international friendlies have come and gone.
Elsewhere Mesut Ozil took on the captain’s armband for Germany when Sammy Khedira went off against Australia after an hour of a watchable 2-2 draw with Australia. The full ninety minutes will have done him no harm at all. I caught the end of the Czech Republic’s home match with Latvia, which was handy as I saw the hosts equalise in the last minute and Tomas Rosicky walk off after his one hundredth cap for the Czechs. The full ninety should help him too.
Olivier Giroud will escape any blame for the 1-3 humbling of the French by Brazil. His appearance as a substitute was limited to the final six minutes, while central defenders Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel stayed firmly seated on their respective benches. Santi Cazorla too made only a late appearance from the bench as Spain overcame Ukraine.
David Ospina had a relatively easy time of it as Columbia scored six without reply against Bahrain, while Alexis Sanchez was a second-half substitute as Chile slipped to defeat against Iran.
That aside, I enjoyed finding out that Australian Gooners are just as frustrated as us when the international break comes around. I spent an enjoyable hour or so chewing the cud on the Gunners Down Under podcast on Friday and this surfaced earlier today. Thanks to Matty B and the BFG for putting up with me as I coughed and spluttered in the background, and spouted my usual gibberish.
That’s pretty much it for now. I am watching the Netherlands and Turkey not worrying if anybody gets hurt, and hoping it improves in the second-half. Tomorrow I will definitely try and catch Brazil against Chile, and possibly Alexis against Gabriel, at the Grove. I hope they have been reminded not to tackle each other. Ooh, Turkey have taken the lead. This game just took a turn for the better.
One last thing. We have a competition coming up this week with a Campo Retro shirt as the prize. This week though you also have a chance to buy one at a big discount. The offer is simple, it’s a 20% off promo code (EGG) that is also redeemable against already discounted products so ‘holic readers can get up to 35% off. Perfect Easter presents! Click on this link to check out their excellent range of Arsenal shirts. http://bit.ly/1CIfcnP
Have a great Sunday all.