Tournament in Qatar
That brings the day at the World Cup
On the second day of the soccer World Cup in Qatar, the highly regarded teams from England and the Netherlands intervene. Star striker Bale plays with his native Wales against his adopted country USA.
After the bumpy start in the unexciting opening game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador (0:2), the schedule for the second day of the World Cup gives hope for more spectacle.
The game will start at 2:00 p.m. with fellow favorites England, who absolutely want to start with a win in the duel against outsiders Iran and send a sign of respect to the big rivals for the title. In the second duel of Group B in the evening (8 p.m.) the USA and Wales will face each other. In between (5 p.m.) the Dutch, who have regained their strength under Bonds coach Louis van Gaal, are aiming for three points at the start of Group A against African champions Senegal. All three games can be seen on ZDF and MagentaTV.
England game in focus
The biggest focus is certainly on the England game – and not just from a sporting point of view. Star striker Harry Kane had announced that he would lead the Three Lions onto the field at Al-Rajjan’s Chalifa International Stadium wearing the multicolored One Love captain’s armband. That could result in a fine, since the world football association FIFA still does not officially accept the piece of fabric with a colorful heart, which is supposed to stand for diversity, and the inscription “One Love”.
Manuel Neuer will follow closely whether and how Kane or even the whole team or the association will be punished afterwards. The German national team captain wants to join the action of originally ten European associations in the game on Wednesday (2 p.m.) against Japan. Qatar has been criticized for disregarding human rights standards, among other things.
It is already certain that England’s internationals will kneel down on the pitch before the World Cup games, just like they did at the European Championship a year and a half ago. “We discussed it and we feel we should do it. That’s what we stand for as a team,” said coach Gareth Southgate of the anti-racism symbol.
In terms of sport, England is also under observation at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha. Hardly anything has been achieved this year, with Southgate in particular being criticized. But Kane defended his coach before the first World Cup game: “Gareth was incredible for us as players. The results at the 2018 World Cup and the European Championship last year speak for themselves.” England finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup and reached the final at the previous year’s European Championship. No other European team had reached the last four of both tournaments.
Van Gaal wants to know again
Meanwhile, the Dutch are confident going into their first World Cup game in more than eight years. “We can become world champions,” said van Gaal. The 71-year-old, who made his prostate cancer disease public in April, would like to complete what will probably be his last World Cup with the greatest possible success. Elftal will have to do without their injured striker Memphis Depay, but the absence of Bayern professional Sadio Mané at Senegal should weigh more heavily. “The first game is always the most important of the tournament,” said van Gaal, “it sets the pace for the rest of the tournament.”
The same applies to the game Wales against the USA, which has no clear favorites on paper. At 33, star striker Gareth Bale is still a key player for the Welsh side. In his home country’s first World Cup game in 64 years, Bale will face his adopted homeland of all places, the USA, at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rajjan. He recently helped his club Los Angeles FC win the Major League Soccer championship.