Southgate unconvinced by biennial World Cup proposals

By Sports Desk October 11, 2021

England manager Gareth Southgate is unconvinced by the idea of having the World Cup every two years, questioning the feasibility of continuously adding to the football calendar.

The idea of a biennial World Cup had been floated in the past, but in recent months it seems to have become a much more likely next step for the competition.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger publicly backed the idea back in July and, as FIFA's head of global football development, the Frenchman has argued a revamp of the international football calendar is both "what the fans want" and a necessity for the improvement of player wellbeing.

FIFA has been carrying out a feasibility study on the prospect of a World Cup every two years and last month held an online summit to discuss plans.

But FIFA's Wenger-backed proposals have been met with antipathy from many key stakeholders, such as confederations, officials, leagues, players and clubs.

UEFA has been particularly scathing in its response to the idea, with president Aleksander Ceferin openly in opposition and vice-president Zbigniew Boniek rather callously questioning the mental sanity of such a proposal.

Southgate was less forthright but still expressed a hint of disagreement.

"I don't know how far things have progressed. There seemed to be a lot of things not in the original proposal I was shown; it is hard to keep track," he told reporters on Monday ahead of England's World Cup qualifier against Hungary.

"We all want high-level games; the Nations League showed the quality and that is exactly what we want to be involved in, but you can't just keep adding to the calendar."

England midfielder Mason Mount was in attendance with Southgate and agreed with the idea that players should be consulted when such proposals are being drawn up, though he seemed to be open to playing a major tournament every year.

"I'd love that, but after the Euros and everything we went through, it [recovering mentally] probably did take longer than anything else," he said.

"You reflect on how it went – it was obviously such a big heartbreak to go all the way then fall at the last hurdle was difficult."

On player consultation, he added: "To have the players' input would be positive, I think.

"We want to play in as many top tournaments and games as possible, we want to be involved. To speak to us would be positive and help shape the future."

Related items

  • Real Madrid 1-1 Osasuna: Benzema misses late penalty as champions lose perfect record Real Madrid 1-1 Osasuna: Benzema misses late penalty as champions lose perfect record

    Real Madrid saw their perfect start in LaLiga halted by 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, as Karim Benzema missed a late penalty on his return from injury in a dramatic 1-1 draw.

    Injuries to Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois left Madrid depleted at the Santiago Bernabeu, but they took the lead in fortunate fashion when Vinicius Junior's cross beat Sergio Herrera.

    Courtois' replacement Andriy Lunin was caught out by Kike Garcia's header as Osasuna equalised shortly after half-time, but the hosts were awarded a penalty when David Garcia pushed Benzema, earning himself a red card.

    However, Benzema hammered his spot-kick against the crossbar as Osasuna clung on, ending Madrid's 100 per cent record in LaLiga this season.

    Osasuna gave as good as they got during a frantic opening, twice going close through tricky winger Abde Ezzalzouli on the break.

    Benzema almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion from Vinicius' cross after 37 minutes, clipping the left-hand post with an acrobatic volley, but Madrid did not have to wait long for their opener.

    Vinicius' in-swinging cross evaded Benzema before nestling in the bottom-right corner after 41 minutes, with a VAR review awarding the goal after ruling Benzema was not interfering with play from an offside position.

    Osasuna needed just five minutes to level after the break, however, as Kike's glancing header looped beyond Lunin to find the top-left corner, stunning the Bernabeu into silence.

    Just as Madrid appeared to be running out of ideas, Garcia's clumsy foul on Benzema saw the defender dismissed and handed the France striker the chance to win the match with 11 minutes left.

    However, the Ballon d'Or favourite stuck the bar with a poor effort before heading Rodrygo Goes' stoppage-time cross wide as Osasuna held on.

  • Juventus 3-0 Bologna: Bianconeri sweep aside visitors to ease pressure on Allegri Juventus 3-0 Bologna: Bianconeri sweep aside visitors to ease pressure on Allegri

    Goals from Filip Kostic, Dusan Vlahovic and Arkadiusz Milik helped Juventus snap their month-long winless streak as they returned to Serie A action with a 3-0 victory over Bologna.

    Heading into Sunday's encounter, Massimiliano Allegri's side had not won across all competitions since the end of August, to leave the head coach's future at the club in serious doubt.

    But an assured display from the Bianconeri against Thiago Motta's embattled side has likely assuaged immediate fears at Allianz Stadium, while the scope of the Bologna boss' task is becoming readily apparent.

    Aside from an off-target Manuel Locatelli effort in the first minute, the early exchanges provided scant entertainment in Turin as both sides sought to settle into the game.

    But it was Juventus who looked the livelier of the two and when Vlahovic picked off a loose ball in midfield, the crowd rose to roar on his blazing run.

    Kostic ran crafty support along the left flank, and when the ball came wide to him, his low strike beyond Lukasz Skorupski back across the box was a worthy opener.

    Bologna seldom looked like they would disturb that lead and the visitors were made to pay again just before the hour mark when Vlahovic powered Weston McKennie's cross home with a header.

    Merely three minutes later, Milik took advantage of a defensive lapse to rifle a vicious volley into the roof of the net, and from there the hosts cruised to full-time for a morale-boosting result.

  • England clinch series victory as Malan dazzles in Lahore decider England clinch series victory as Malan dazzles in Lahore decider

    Dawid Malan propelled England to a series-clinching victory in the seventh T20I as Pakistan suffered a crushing 67-run defeat in Lahore.

    After England posted 209-3, Pakistan made 142-8, showing dismally little interest in the chase after losing three early wickets. It meant Moeen Ali's tourists won 4-3 in their first series in Pakistan for 17 years.

    Malan played a terrific innings as England topped the 10-runs-an-over rate, with the left-hander cracking 78 not out from 47 balls, the sixth time that Malan has scored more than 75 in a T20I. Pakistan were generous in the field, including a let-off for Malan at the start of the penultimate over when Mohammad Wasim dropped a steepler.

    With Ben Duckett clubbing 30 from 19 balls and Harry Brook clearing the ropes four times in 46no from 29 balls, it meant Pakistan faced a tall order.

    It immediately looked beyond them when captain Babar Azam (4) and fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (1) fell in the opening eight balls of the reply, and Iftikhar Ahmed (19) did not last long either.

    Pakistan were nowhere near the required run rate from the early stages, and their lack of urgency made it a subdued contest, with the result meaning they have now lost five and drawn two of their seven T20I multi-game series against England. Shan Masood top-scored with 56 for the beaten hosts.

    Willey joins England elite in passing landmark

    Needing two wickets to reach 50 in T20I matches, David Willey (2-22) reached that target by removing Iftikhar and Wasim. It made him the fifth England player to reach 50 T20I wickets, after Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann.

    Wasim woe

    Wasim went for 0-61 from the four overs he sent down, including giving up 20 runs in the 20th over. Those were his most expensive figures in a T20I, with this his 15th match in the format. The previous most runs he had conceded in a four-over stint came when he took 2-44 against West Indies in Karachi last December.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.