Philosophical Wenger opens up in amazing interview

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Get ready to hear from Arsene Wenger as you’ve probably never heard him before.

Speaking to French outlet L’Equipe in their Sport an Style magazine, the Arsenal boss opens up not only about his views on soccer but life. It gets deep, real deep.

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Wenger, 66, is currently in his 20th year as Arsenal’s manager and has coached the Gunners for more days than the rest of the current managers have coached their respective PL clubs combined. Along with the Q&A, Wenger was also shot wearing some rather trendy outfits in a fashion shoot. Like I said, you’ve probably never seen him like this and there’s not a huge padded jacket with a strong possibility of zipper problems in sight…

[ MORE: Spurs closing gap on Arsenal ]

Below are a few snippets of the fascinating interview as Wenger reveals how upset he was when he realized he may not make it to the heights he hoped as a player (“I was 24-25 years old I thought: s*** if I can’t play football anymore I’ll commit suicide! I was thinking: what is the point of life after it?), how he doesn’t care for history, picking up English tendencies, his motivations on a daily basis and much more as he truly opens up about life on and off the pitch.

Take it away Mr. Wenger.


 

Does the fact that you were a professional footballer, but not a great player, give you more leniency, patience regarding what your team can accomplish?

AW: You can explain that by the relationship with frustration of a player who didn’t reach what he was striving for. Anything could have happened, however my career would have panned out, I would have stayed in football. Football was obviousness to me. A bit of a crazy obviousness. Sometimes, when I was 24-25 years old I thought: s*** if I can’t play football anymore I’ll commit suicide! I was thinking: what is the point of life after it?

Seriously?

AW: Seriously. I tried for a long time to understand how you could be that stupid. Simply because I was raised in a bar-restaurant that was the HQ of a football club. We only spoke about football. The guys sorted out the teams on Wednesday and Tuesday to play on Sunday. I was barely walking and already watching them, listening to them. And I thought: Wow, they’re going to play him on the left wing, well its going to be another tough one.

Did you get involved quickly in the discussions?

AW: Oh yes. By the time I was 4 or 5 I started being conscious of them and I began joining in when I was 9-10. I was locked in a culture where, unconsciously, I thought football was important in life. Because people only spoke about that.

Do you think about the end of your career as a manager? A new small death. You’ve just turned 66.

AW: I completely ignore that question. I’m kind of like the 34 year old guy who’s still playing. He has a bad game and everybody says “Time to hang them up mate!”. I don’t even ask myself the question of what I will do after because it will be a big shock. Much harder than switching from player to coach. Because this time, it will be about switching from hyperactivity to emptiness. That’s why I refuse to consider that question. I’m like a guy who’s not far from his goal, who keeps going and ignores the wall.
Now if I tell you Erik you have 24 hours to live. Will you imagine the blade that will slit your throat – during all of your remaining 24 hours – or will you try to live them to the fullest? It’s the question of the ending of life really.

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC

Why do you not keep anything from your past?

AW: It worries me a bit. If you come to my place, you could never guess I’m a football manager. If you ask me where my last FA Cup medal is, I don’t know. I think I gave it to the team doctor or the kit man.

It’s paradoxical for the manager of a club that has an acute sense of history and passing on.

AW: I’m very interested in the history of others. Mine I’m much less interested in. Because I know it and not going through it allows me to forget all the stupid things I’ve done. You avoid the feeling of guiltiness. I always found it a bit pathetic that people would tour their own museums and talk about all the good they’ve done in their lives.

Who else other than you will leave a mark of your career?

AW: My club will do it very well. Media are so developed nowadays that they will tell a story about me, even if it won’t necessarily be “my” story. The real one is probably more interesting because a lot of things are not known. My father, for example, used to collect everything that was written about me. Sometimes, I fell like I’m betraying him. Because I’m not interested in that. Maybe that will change. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll think: my friend, it’s time to pause and reflect on what’s happened.

Tell to transmit better?

AW: The most beautiful thing about my job is the power to pass on and influence the lives of others. In a positive way.

Earlier on, while you were getting dressed for the photo shoot, I was reminded of a quote by Mircea Lucescu, the Shakhtar Donetsk manager, about you: “Arsene is an aristocrat. He is not driven by the working class values of an Alex Ferguson or the aggressive nature of a Jose Mourinho. He tires to educate above all”. Do you recognise yourself in that description?

AW: I don’t deny that I’m first and foremost an educator. However, I don’t feel like an aristocrat at all. If you had lived with me, loading manure on carts, you would have understood. I try to be faithful to the values that I believe to be important in life and to pass them on to others. In thirty years as a manager, I’ve never had my players injected to make them better. I never gave them any product that would help enhance their performance. I’m proud of that. I’ve played against many teams that weren’t in that frame of mind.

Aristocracy can be a state of mind; it’s not necessarily inherited.

AW: I don’t deny what others feel, but feel like a kid from Duttlenheim who went running in the fields every day. Aristocrats had their heads cut off in France. I strive to pass on values. Not the right of blood. A civilisation that does not honour its dead or its values is doomed.

Precisely, you’re in England, and you didn’t keep your farmer’s outfit. You’re always impeccable on the bench on game day.

AW: Because I feel responsible for the image that football has, and the image that I want to give of my club. And also, football is a celebration. And where I come from, we dressed up on Sundays. I loved arriving in England and seeing the managers wearing suits and ties. As if they were saying, “Listen lads, our goal is to make a celebration out of this moment”. I joined in. I want that fan to wake up in the morning and say, Arsenal are playing today, I’m going to have a good time. That guy starts his day off by thinking that something good is going to happen to him. And to do that, big clubs have to have the ambition to play spectacularly. Of shared happiness. We don’t always succeed.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-ASTON VILLA-ARSENAL

It took you some time at the beginning at Arsenal to get the club and its fans to follow your principle.

AW: Arsenal is a club with tradition that is not afraid of innovating.

Because you and David Dein, back then vice-president of Arsenal, but above-all your friend changed traditions.

AW: They were not scared of following me. That was a true act of courage.

They gave you time first and foremost. You’re starting your twentieth year at the head of Arsenal.

AW: Time is a real luxury. I give myself credit for one thing: I always treated Arsenal as if it belonged to me. I’ve been criticised for it. Because I don’t spend enough. I’m not carefree enough. I give myself credit for having the courage to apply my ideas and to fight for them. I can understand that people don’t agree. My great pride will be, the day I leave, that I’m leaving a good squad, a healthy situation and a club capable of performing in the future. I could have thought: I’m here for four or five years, we win everything, I leave and leave the club on the verge of bankruptcy. For me, consistency at the highest level is the true sign of a great club. Real Madrid didn’t win the title for 21 years before Di Stefano’s arrival in 1953 after all.

If you had to pick one moment in your career?

AW: Arriving in London with complete scepticism. My first league title, my first double. Going from “Arsène Who” to the one who became a pioneer. Being the first non-British coach to succeed in England.

And if there was a pain?

AW: Being questioned on everything that has been done after every single loss, despite the consistency we’ve put in our work at the highest level. The immediate “chuck it all out” reaction. You have to find a balance between your masochistic capability to endure what you’re being put through and the pleasure of accomplishment. Today, my masochistic capability must be bigger so as to express my passion. I’ve reached that point. I do many things that make me suffer.

Is that why you stay away from the media?

AW: Of course. Do you know someone who wakes up in the morning and says: Hey, I’d like to get fifty whiplashes.

You say you’ve been described as naive. Do you not prefer to be called an idealist?

AW: A guy said: “There is only one way to live with the idea of death, it is to try and transform the present into art”. That works with what we’ve just been talking about.

Serbia vs Switzerland: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Serbia and Switzerland seek a win that could seal a place in the World Cup Round of 16 when they meet Friday in Doha.

The Swiss can qualify with a win, or a draw if Cameroon beats Brazil and tiebreakers stay in Switzerland’s favor. The Swiss beat Cameroon 1-0 in Al Wakrah but lost to Brazil by the same score in Doha.

STREAM LIVE SERBIA vs SWITZERLAND

Serbia started its tournament with a 2-0 loss to Brazil In Lusail before drawing a wild six-goal thriller with Cameroon In Al Wakrah.

Serbia qualifies with a win if Cameroon doesn’t beat Brazil. If Serbia and Cameroon both win, Serbia would need to take the lead in goal differential.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Serbia vs Switzerland.


How to watch Serbia vs Switzerland live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Friday Dec. 2
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Three different goal scorers hit the sheet in the draw with Cameroon, and Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic remains a threat to score every game. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic continues to show huge value in the center of the pitch.

Breel Embolo has Switzerland’s only goal and will be continue to be a focal point, while Man City defender Manuel Akanji, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, and Nottingham Forest’s Remo Freuler make the Swiss a tough team to break down.


Serbia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 21
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Dragan Stojkovic
Key players: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Luka Jovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic

Switzerland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Cameroon vs Brazil: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Cameroon needs to upset qualified Brazil and get help from the other Group G game when the World Cup group stage hits Lusail on Friday.

The Indomitable Lions lost 1-0 to Switzerland before drawing Serbia 3-3 In a thrilling second encounter.

STREAM LIVE CAMEROON vs BRAZIL

Beating tournament favorites Brazil is a big ask but it will be a heavily-rotated and Neymar-less Selecao who faces Cameroon. Brazil blanked Serbia 2-0 in Lusail before beating Switzerland 1-0 in Doha.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Cameroon vs Brazil.


How to watch Cameroon vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Friday Dec. 2
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Cameroon defender Jean-Charles Castelletto has joined forwards Vincent Aboubakar and underappreciated Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in becoming one of the stories of Group G.

Brazil still needs to find its answer if Neymar cannot return to the fold this tournament. Richarlison and Raphinha have impressed but still need to show they can really carry the attack without Neymar. Could Gabriel Jesus shine in his absence?


Cameroon quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 43
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from CAF playoffs
Coach: Rigobert Song
Key players: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Vincent Aboubakar, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Mexico fall short of miraculous escape in win over Saudi Arabia

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Mexico scored the first goals and picked up their first win at the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 to close out play in Group C, but the margin of victory wasn’t large enough to advance to the knockout rounds.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY

Instead, Poland (4 points) will join Argentina (6) in the round of 16 by way of their superior goal difference (0 to -1) to Mexico (4 points). For nearly 45 minutes, the tiebreaker in question was fair play points (yellow and red cards) with the sides matching one another identically at this World Cup.

After failing to score a goal in either of their first two games, Mexico needed an offensive explosion on Wednesday, and to some degree they got one. Their 2.10 expected goals were more than double their outputs from games no. 1 (0.72 vs Poland) and 2 (0.27 vs Argentina), combined.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Henry Martin got Mexico on the board just two minutes after halftime, turning home Cesar Montes’ flick of a corner kick at the near post. Five minutes later, it was 2-0 after Luis Chavez smashed a dipping free kick home from 32 yards out.

As Mexico pushed more and more numbers forward in pursuit of the third goal that would send them through to the knockout rounds for an 8th straight World Cup appearance, El Tri were hit on the counter-attack. Salem Al Dawsari’s stoppage-time consolation goal was the final, decisive blow.

[ MORE: Latest Group C standings, schedule, scores ]

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How to watch Saudi Arabia vs Mexico live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Wednesday Nov. 30
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The Saudis have arguably been the most fun team at the tournament amongst non-powers, always running and getting exceptional goalkeeping. Salem Al-Dawsari was very good in both games but his missed penalty before halftime against Poland looms large of a match that could’ve been 1-1 going to the break and instead ended 2-0.

Mexico has not scored at the tournament so far, and Raul Jimenez has only been used as a super sub. Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega combined for just three shot attempts before being subbed out of the Poland loss, while Lozano and Henry Martin combined for two versus Poland (Vega attempted five). They need better up top to keep up their streak of making Round of 16 appearances at the World Cup.


Saudi Arabia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 51
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group B)
Coach: Herve Renard
Key players: Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad, Mohammed Al-Owais

Mexico quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (2nd place)
Coach: Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez

World Cup tables – Group stage standings in full

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The World Cup tables are shaping up to be very intriguing viewing as the group stage unfolds in Qatar.

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With teams now scrambling to be in the top two in order to reach the last 16, goal difference will make a big difference and it is going to be very tight and tense over the next few days.

If you need a reminder on the tiebreakers for the group stage, here is everything which will help you work out the two teams who will make it through and the two who will go home from reach group.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Below are the World Cup tables from all eight groups, as fans across the globe will be glue to these standings as they try to figure out the permutations needed for their team to make it through.


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

Group A table

1.  Netherlands — 7 points (+4 GD) – IN THE LAST 16 
2. Senegal — 6 points (+1) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Ecuador — 4 points (+1) – ELIMINATED
4. Qatar — 0 (-6) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan


Group B table

1. England – 7 points (+7 GD) – IN THE LAST 16
2. USA – 5 points (+1) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Iran – 3 points (-3) – ELIMINATED
4. Wales – 1 point (-5) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor


Group C table

1. Argentina — 6 points (+3) – IN THE LAST 16
2. Poland — 4 points (0) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Mexico — 4 points (-1) – ELIMINATED
4. Saudi Arabia — 3 points (-2) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 0-2 Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail


Group D table

1. France – 6 points (+3 GD) – IN THE LAST 16
2. Australia – 6 points (-1) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Tunisia – 4 points (+1) – ELIMINATED
4. Denmark – 1 point (-2) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah


Group E table

1. Spain — 4 points (+6 GD)
2. Japan — 3 points (0)
3. Costa Rica — 3 points (-6)
4. Germany — 1 point (-1)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Matches remaining

Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Group F table

1. Croatia — 4 points (+3 GD)
2. Morocco — 4 points (+2)
3. Belgium — 3 points (+1)
4. Canada — 0 points (-4) – ELMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Matches remaining

Thursday, December 1: Croatia vs Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Thursday, December 1: Canada vs Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 10am


Group G table

1. Brazil — 6 points (+3 GD) – QUALIFIED
2. Switzerland — 3 points (0)
3. Cameroon — 1 point (-1)
4. Serbia — 1 point (-2)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Matches remaining

Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm


Group H table

1. Portugal — 6 points (+3 GD) – QUALIFIED
2. Ghana — 3 points (0)
3. South Korea — 1 point (-1)
4. Uruguay — 1 point (-2)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay– Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Matches remaining

Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am