Mounting pressure vs. Qatar 2022 World Cup, as England heads nations asking for switch

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Huge opposition is building against the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

On Friday evening the new head of the English Football Association, Greg Dyke, asked FIFA to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter or another country altogether.

The tiny desert nation has been under intense scrutiny ever since it was awarded the mammoth event and now several nations around the world are condemning FIFA’s decisions to take the tournament to Qatar.

FIFA itself deemed Qatar as “high risk” when completing an inspection of the nation’s bid in 2010, with searing summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf often hitting 50 C (120 F).

Dyke hit out at the decision to host the even in Qatar and discussed the FA’s stance.

“The FA’s position will be you can’t play it in summer in Qatar,” said Dyke. “FIFA therefore has two choices … you either move it in time or to another location. Someone should have worked that out in 2010 when it was awarded. It’s genuinely becoming accepted that you can’t play it in Qatar in the summer.”

(MORE: Qatar to purchase 118 tanks to prepare for 2022 World Cup)

And to echo Dyke’s comments, the Bundesliga’s chief executive Christian Seifert said that a winter tournament could disrupt European football for three years, slamming FIFA for ignoring “leagues who are effectively the core and the heart of football.” Recently head of FIFA Sepp Blatter has said the notion of a winter World Cup will be discussed by the governing bodies leading heads. But what is their to discuss?

The evidence is stacked up against holding a World Cup in Qatar.So, what are the options at his point?

Well, luckily, we are nine years away from the event taking place. So time’s on our side. But a decision needs to be made, one way or another, by FIFA’s executives very soon. Switching to winter time in Qatar would make the most sense, but many would argue that taking the tournament away from the tiny Arab nation would be the best move. England and the United States of America have been mooted as potential back up host nations.

(MORE: Sepp Blatter says 2022 World Cup should be played in winter, here we go…)

Air-conditioned outside stadiums were promised in Qatar, so far the technology is still lagging behind for that. The Qatari government has bought 118 tanks and other military equipment to deal with possible terrorist attacks and fan violence. But will fans really be able to function in that type of heat?

Time for Dyke to step in again: “I don’t know how many people have been to Qatar in June – I have,” Dyke said. “The one thing I can tell you is you can’t play a football tournament in Qatar in June. Also, it would be impossible for the fans. Just go out there, wander around in that sort of heat.”

And we have to take another tragic factor on board, as Christian “Chucho” Benítez recently died following a practice game in Qatar. The 27-year-old Ecuadorian forward had just switched to El Jaish from Club America and was use to playing in the extreme heat of Mexico, but he suffered a heart attack and many other issues after playing for the first-time in the relentless Qatari summer heat. As yet, the exact cause of his death hasn’t been linked to the conditions in the Middle Eastern nation, but surely it had to play some factor.

(MORE: Tragedy strikes as Ecuador star Christian Benítez, 27, dies in Qatar)

With problems mounting up for Qatar and leading European giants totally opposed to playing the World Cup there at all, where do we go from here?

FIFA has a lot of work to do before the 2022 showpiece tournament. If it remains in Qatar, it simply must be in the winter time. That won’t win FIFA many friends with the top European leagues, but it won’t put fans or players in danger.

But holding a World Cup in 120 degree heat during the Qatari summer, will.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 11 — England, Colombia back in action

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Day 11 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Sunday, with England back in action and in need of three points — and a resounding win — to keep pace with Belgium in Group G.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Following Belgium’s 5-2 thrashing of Tunisia — the same side that England beat in stoppage time earlier in the week — on Saturday, the Red Devils have positioned themselves perfectly to win the group with a draw against the Three Lions on Thursday. England need a five-goal victory at 6-1 or higher to the finish top of the group following a draw on the final day.

Then, it’s a pair of Group H fixtures, kicked off with Japan (1st) versus Senegal (2nd) — both of whom won their first game — followed by Poland (3rd) versus Colombia (4th).

Below is Sunday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Sunday, June 24

Group G
England vs. Panama: Nizhny Novgorod, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group H
Japan vs. Senegal: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Poland vs. Colombia: Kazan, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

FIFA opens case against Xhaka, Shaqiri for celebrations

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FIFA’s disciplinary committee opened disciplinary proceedings against Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for politically charged goal celebrations during their 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia in Kaliningrad.

[ MORE: The meaning behind Xhaka, Shaqiri’s eagle celebration ]

FIFA also said Saturday it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian Football Association for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans. FIFA also is reviewing statements that Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic made after the match.

Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated their goals by making a nationalist symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage. Both of their families come from Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Polish Football Association was fined $10,100 and given a warning by FIFA’s disciplinary committee for a banner that the governing body deemed political and offensive. The banner was displayed during Senegal’s 2-1 win over Poland on Tuesday in Moscow.

The committee also opened disciplinary proceedings against the federations of Argentina and Croatia for crowd disturbances during Croatia’s 3-0 win Thursday at Nizhny Novgorod.

Low: Germany survived “a thriller full of emotion”

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At 1-0 down, they were headed for elimination in the group stage (with a game still to play); once level at 1-1, they faced yet a steep hill to climb on the final day of the group stage; after Toni Kroos scored his stunning 94th-minute winner, Joachim Low could finally exhale and imagine himself managing the German national team for another day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sweden at the 2018 World Cup was, for most intents and purposes, a worrying performance for the defending world champions. Fortunately for Low and Co., the one place in which their comeback dramatic victory was a raging success is the only one that matters: the Group F table, where Die Mannschaft currently (somehow) sit second and control their own destiny — quotes from the BBC:

“This was a thriller, full of emotion, right up until the final whistle. Brandt hit the goal post just three minutes before the end too. We took out a defensive player and brought on an attacking player because we knew had to bring on everything we had to turn it round.

“We had a couple of great chances — Mario Gomez’s header being one of them. The last couple of minutes were full of drama but those matches exist in football. We’ve had these situations in other tournaments as well. For the viewers that’s part of the attractiveness of football.”

“Something I did appreciate today was that we didn’t lose our nerve, we didn’t panic after going a goal down. We kept a level head and said we needed to make quick passes and tire the Swedes out to open up spaces.

“We didn’t score a couple of good chances but we never lost hope we could win the match and I think the goal scored in stoppage time had a bit of luck involved but it did show the belief we had in ourselves.”

There’s still plenty of work to do for one of the most popular pre-tournament favorites — there’s a little matter of needing to beat, or at the very least, best Sweden’s result against Mexico — but that can wait until tomorrow, because Saturday unexpectedly became all about survival.

Germany snatches late win over Sweden to avoid elimination

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Germany dodged a fatal bullet on Saturday, coming back from a goal down to Sweden to steal a 2-1 victory at the 2018 World Cup and keep their world title defense alive… barely.

For all of 16 minutes — plus halftime — the Germans were in line to be eliminated with one Group F game still to play, but ultimately, Ola Toivonen‘s unlikely opener was canceled out by Marco Reus in very short order after the restart, and Toni Kroos broke Swedish hearts in the 94th.

Put another way, Joachim Loew survives to manage another day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Sweden felt massively aggrieved to have not been awarded a penalty kick in the 17th minute, when Jerome Boateng took out the legs of Marcus Berg as he bore down on an out-rushing Manuel Neuer. The combination of leg-to-leg contact and a strong push in the back appeared an obvious error for the video-assistant referee to right a wrong, but the call never came.

The opening goal was the direct result of a careless giveaway by Kroos near the center circle, and needed just three touches and two passes to cut through the German defense and spring Toivonen behind Antonio Rudiger. The finish, a perfectly weighted dink — perhaps aided by the slightest of deflections by Rudiger — left Neuer with no chance (WATCH HERE).

Then, with the final touch of the first half, Berg glanced a header from a free kick that was destined to his the inside netting at the far post, but Neuer redefined the phrase “at full stretch” to keep the scoreline 1-1.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

That save proved invaluable for Joachim Loew’s side, as Marco Reus pulled the defending world champions level less than three minutes into the second half. Timo Werner dribbled to the endline and cut the ball back toward the penalty spot, and Reus got on the end of the deflected cross and struck it home with his knee. A semblance of order restored.

Bedlam ensued in the final 15 minutes, as Boateng was sent off for a second yellow card and Neuer lost his footing while scrambling across the face of goal to make a save, only narrowly preserving the 1-1 scoreline. Robin Olsen one-upped Neuer in the 88th minute, rising to his crossbar to punch Mario Gomez’s header just over.

In the fourth of five minutes of second-half stoppage time, Kroos became the hero. From a nearly impossible angle on the left side of the penalty area, Kroos rolled the ball forward to Reus on the restart, creating an ever so slightly wider angle from which to curl his shot toward the far post. It worked to perfection.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Germany (3 points) will finish group play against fourth-place South Korea (0 points) on Wednesday, while Sweden (3 points) will face Mexico (6 points), who had clinched their place in the knockout rounds until Germany’s late winner.