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October 2016
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Alex Iwobi chooses, David Ospina is blessed and injured (or injured and blessed) and other international events

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 – 

For the aaa…

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

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10 comments to Alex Iwobi chooses, David Ospina is blessed and injured (or injured and blessed) and other international events

  • Al

    Iwobi seems to have made the right choice, IMO. His chances of winning any silverware with England are probably as remote as any chance of finding the lochness monster right now 🙂 At least with Nigeria he can expect one or two Afcon medals, or runners up medals. At the world cup I think he can expect about the same progress as in an England shirt; making the quarters would probably be the furthest he can hope to go in either shirt.

    I know another player who could have turned out for a different country is Welbeck, who might have chosen Ghana instead. In terms of recent results at major tournaments Welbeck might be left wondering if he made the right choice. I recall John Fashanu coming out in the media slating Gabby Agbonlahor’s choosing England as the country he wanted to represent. He said something to the effect Gabby had made the wrong choice, England would use him for a couple of games before throwing him into the scrapheap. That it turned out to be exactly what happened might be playing on younger players’ minds before selecting their country of choice, and I wouldn’t blame anyone who chooses not to represent England if they have another choice.

  • Al

    Let’s hope Oooooospina! is OK. He has proven to the fair-weather fans who doubted him that he always was a top keeper. One mistake does not mean someone becomes rubbish overnight, and even the greatest goalies will make plenty of these in their careers. Reading about his latest knock it sounds like he soldiered on to finish the match, just as he did against Everton. Now if that isnt tough i dont know what is. I think David has answered his critics well.

  • nicky

    Perusing the comments on Untold over (say) the past decade, I have noted the steady decline in interest, by followers of ArsenalFC, over international matches.
    It’s reasonable to suppose that supporters of other clubs feel the same.
    Lack of real success by the national side since 1966 may be the cause, although I get the impression that a fervent increase in day-to-day club support has firmly taken over.
    I’m sure that a sudden surge of unexpected success by England would improve interest.
    Until then though, club supporters will regard international matches as an irritating interlude in the battle for the premier league title.

  • Usama Zaka

    Slightly off-topic but related to the inter-lull.

    Nigeria played Egypt for the AFCON Cup Qualifiers. The match ended 1-1. El Nenny played the full game and Iwobi came on as late sub.

    And a big game like this never goes down without controversy. Here is what happened. The referee awarded minimum 3 minutes of added time. At 93:07 Mohammed Salah the Egyptian striker (Very very fast player) was through on goal in a potentially 1v1 situation. Salah could have scored the winner for Egypt, when the referee stopped the match and whistled full time. Egyptian players were livid, just look at our own Mohamed El Nenny (Shirt No.17) in the clip below.

  • Josif


    I think we have been witnessing a side-effect of the whole UEFA and FIFA fiasco.

    Number of national teams at tournaments is going to be bigger and bigger just to oblige all those Platini’s voters in Europe and human-right breachers from oil-rich countries. The refereeing is awful. In fact, the refs are so bad that England are going to have two referees at EURO 2016: Clattenburg and Atkinson.

    Then, there is the fact a regular fan is more into a club football than into an international one. Two countries with the biggest population (= most attractive markets) China and India have a rather poor international team each. India have tried to do something using the U.S. model of old veterans (Pires among them) to improve their football but I haven’t seen the reflection of that on the national team. China, however, have been going through serious investments of their clubs. Players like Lavezzi, Teixeira and Ramires could have played an important role in big European clubs but went for the money instead. Whether it will make their national team better is debatable.

    I also feel that expansion of “soccer” in USA (= the biggest economy) didn’t hit the ground as they had hoped. I guess they lost momentum that had been gained after USA 94.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Iwobi had a bit of taste of African football last Saturday which was played in a typical African country – Nigeria under the late scorching sun in Kaduna. Under which heat the Nigerian players were sweating and panting in the 1st half of the game.

    Sweating & Panting is a unique characteristic in African Cup of Nation Tournament which was originally played in the month of March until it was rescheduled to start in the month January during the hamattan period to leasing the intense heat during the games.

    But I was surprised to see the Egyptian players on my TV screen not sweating and panting as the Nigerian players were sweating and panting during the 1st half of game that kicked off @ 5:00 pm Nigerian time and the weather became cool @ 6:00 pm when the 2nd half begins.

    Iwobi was brought on late into the game in the 2nd half by temporary coach Samson Siasia. And I think Iwobi did not touch the ball more than 3 times. His substitution did not impact anything positive to the Super Eagles game.

    Nigeria is facing an uphill task to qualify for Afcon 2017 as we trail 2 points behind Egypt who are topping the table with 7 points to Nigeria 5 points after 3 round of games played from the maximum 6 games to be played in our qualifying group. Save if we beat Egypt in Alexander to bounce back and top the table, the chances of Nigeria going to Gabon in 2017 is looking remote.

  • Andy Mack

    This would be Iwobis 3rd game for Nigeria. His first was in October last year…

  • dan

    In other news the metro is a bag of shit

  • Florian


    Yes and no. MLS has been steadily expanding, and even if the quality of the teams is nowhere near the European ones’, there is still plenty to watch. Additionally, the US National Team is a bit of hot and cold, with a bit of help from their friends in the media, so the clubs are actually on the rise. Or maybe it’s just me, the voice of the football supporter in Seattle, whose surname in the US is “Soccer City”.

    What didn’t happen is indeed a boom in soccer attendance. The reasons are multiple, over the top of my head I can mention competition from other team sports (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL), plus the attitude of the media, who don’t buy in fully into the soccer Kool-Aid. Re the attendance, the traditional American sports are in a strong position, which will be difficult to overturn. As far as I know, football is 3rd, behind NFL and MLB, ahead of NBA and NHL – so there you have it.

  • Florian

    Crrection: …with a bit of “help” from their “friends” in the media…