By Tony Attwood
Alex Iwobi appears to have shaken off the illness which (according to the Metro) had him “rushed to hospital” and has chosen to represent Nigeria rather than England in his future international career by coming on as a substitute in the game with Egypt.
Most players these days have a choice of which country they can play for. The rules state that at the level of the teams that play in the World Cup it doesn’t matter who you played for earlier, and it doesn’t matter too much where you were born.
Players can play for the country in which they were born of course, (even if the mother was just passing through) but can also play for the country whose nationality the players’ parents hold (and if they hold multiple nationalities that means any of those), and the nationality/ies of any of their grandparents. They can also apply for the nationality of any country, become a citizen, and represent that country. Sometimes such an application can be pushed through in a matter of weeks.
So it has for some years been a bit of a case of choose your country and make your choice, and Alex has chosen Nigeria.
Nigeria are one of the top countries in Africa, and often qualify for the competition that is held once every two years, winning it three times, coming runners’ up four times and coming third seven times. However they did not qualify in 2012 and 2015, (despite winning it in 2013) and were banned in 1998 and withdraw in 1996. They have also qualified for the last six world cup finals.
Which means if he is picked Alex is going to be away with his country quite a lot. And there are occasional concerns over safety – for this weekend’s game over 40,000 got into a stadium designed to hold 20,000 (the numbers vary from paper to paper).
Meanwhile as the matches go on the Metro tells us to worry as they present the “Video: Arsenal’s David Ospina injured on international duty for Colombia”
It is worrying stuff apparently…
Arsenal fans will be sweating over the fitness of goalkeeper David Ospina after this video of him getting injured for Colombia.
The Gunners are currently without first-choice ‘keeper Petr Cech, in what has been a typically injury-hit campaign for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Now this is when we think it might not be that bad because Cech is due back anyway after the interlull. The Metro continues,
Ospina has done a decent job of filling in for the former Chelsea No.1, but Gooners everywhere will be in a mild panic after watching this.
They also have the headline over the video Blessing Ospina goalkeeper Bolivia v Chile
The Metro notes that Ospina played on in the Chile game, as he did against Everton, played on despite the knock and that Cech is also expected to return for Arsenal’s game against Watford after the international break. But there is no explanation about the headline.
Interestingly Sky Sports web site now has a page devoted entirely to injuries picked up on international volunteering (one can’t really call it international duty since one can pick ones country).
Their headline is
International injury round-up: Sergio Aguero, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Tim Krul pick up problems
There are quite a few other players listed but none from Arsenal. But perhaps we should note that Karim Benzema whom we are always just about to sign year after year “scored twice for France against Armenia but was forced to leave the pitch minutes before the full-time whistle with a hamstring injury. Funnily enough it may have been caused by Antoine Griezmann jumping on Benzema’s back during celebrations
They also note that in terms of Chelsea “both Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic were forced off in Serbia’s hostile match with Albania although Chelsea fans were considerable less annoyed about the former’s injury.”
That’s not a very nice thing to say.
Today in history (well maybe…)
26 March 1726: Britain’s first Sunday newspaper, the “British Gazette and Sunday Monitor” publishes its first edition. On the back page it calls for the removal of Arsenal’s manager.
And the Insult of the Day –
Scrambling out-facing, fashion monging boys, that lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander, go anticly, show outward hideousness and speak off half a dozen dangerous word.”
From the Arsenal History Society
- Arsenal in the 70s part 25: Jan to June 1980. Farewell Liam Brady.
- Arsenal in the 1970s – the overview and what happened next.
- How to be a top journalist without leaving the pub
- Can Leicester hang on, or is the great tiredness about to set in?
- A football legends dies, and it is worth to take note of his wise words