I know, I know. We’re more than a year away and it’s already in the news too much. But allow me to share an anecdote from earlier in the week. A friend of mine is Brazilian. I asked him if he thought I should go to the World Cup. He laughed and said a lot of people have been asking him. His response:
“I asked them a question: ‘Do you want to go to Brazil or do you want to go to a World Cup?’ If they say, ‘I want to go to the World Cup,’ I say, ‘Go to the next one.’ If they say, ‘I want to go to Brazil,’ I say, ‘Go some time that’s not during the World Cup.'”
Personally, I’m inclined to agree with him. The World Cup is a tremendous experience. Everyone should go to one in their lifetime if they are lucky enough to have the means. But I’m not sure Brazil is the right one, especially when we continue to get articles like this one on ESPN.com that reports on fan violence:
Research carried out by sports paper Lance! last year revealed that 155 people were killed by football-related violence in Brazil between 1988 and 2012, and 103 of the incidents involved firearms — a clear sign of the criminal element within many groups. The total of arrests made in relation to the deaths, meanwhile, stood at a pitiful 27. It is not difficult to see why some members of these groups consider themselves to be above the law.
Yes, that’s dramatic and cherry-picked, but it still happens. And yes, they said the same thing about South Africa and South Africa went fine for the most part. But I’m worried about the crush of people, the inadequate infrastructure, and the general mood.
I don’t know. Are you going to go? I’m genuinely interested in hearing the opinions. I’m of two minds. I just don’t know. I gotta say, I hear Russia is nice…
International roundup: Schweinsteiger, Keane say goodbye; Denmark bags five
Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.
ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.
It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.
Elsewhere Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan
3. Dieumerci Mbokani, loan from Dynamo Kyiv to Hull — While Robbie Brady, Timm Klose, and Nathan Redmond got a lot of the headlines, Mbokani was a powerful part of the Canaries’ attack in an ill-fated campaign. At 30 he’s far from a long-term fix, but Mbokani should provide strength and skill to a Hull City side facing a very challenging campaign. Per 90 minutes, no one on Norwich touched him last year (courtesy advanced stats site Squawka):
2. Jack Wilshere, loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth — We want so badly to make this our No. 1 for many reasons, but can’t take that risk thanks to the risk presented by Wilshere’s injury history. For Jeff Mostyn, Eddie Howe, and the Cherries to win the rights to bring Wilshere to town is big for a lot of reasons. That Arsene Wenger allowed him to go is another. Frankly, this could be a game changer for two clubs’ PL fortunes.
— Honorable mention — Wilfried Bony is a nice pick-up for Stoke, but Bruno Martins Indi gives the club freedom to use Geoff Cameron in other ways. … Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is another good piece for Spurs’ attacking depth ahead of the UEFA Champions League.
Islam Slimani, permanent from Lisbon to Leicester — The Algerian striker was sold on King Power Stadium by fellow Desert Warriors attacker Riyad Mahrez, and now gives the Foxes even more danger whether counterattacking or taking their talents to the opposition. With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Ahmed Musa joining Slimani, Leicester has the depth to dance in Europe.