Untold International review: the world cup qualifiers from an Arsenal perspective

I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time but with the arrival of Mesut Ozil I’ve suddenly got more interested in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers on Friday and Tuesday, and how they affect Arsenal players.So her goes…the European fixtures * (I don’t think any AFC Players are involved any further afield..)

Czech Republic vs Armenia

FYR Macedonia vs Wales

Scotland vs Belgium

England vs Moldova

Germany vs Austria

Poland  vs Montenegro

Finland vs Spain

Georgia vs France



Wales vs Serbia

Faroe Islands vs Germany

Italy vs Czech Republic

San Marino vs Poland

Ukraine vs England

Belarus vs France


The standout tie is Germany at home to her old ally Austria, but plenty of rivalry there. Germany are top of the group (16pts) and look sure to qualify, but then Austria, Sweden and the Rep of Ireland are all on 11 points. Austria could do with a result but Germany are away to the Faroes after this so perhaps they will put most effort into the home fixture, I’d expect them to win. No Schweinsteiger for the Germans but they’ve got more than enough; David Alba (playing at home in Munich) is the key for the Austrians. With Podolski out injured, lets hope Per and new boy Ozil come through both ties unscathed. In fact Herr Low why not leave ‘em out altogether?

Wales travel to Macedonia for a tricky tie before coming back to Cardiff to play Serbia, which won’t be easy either. To be honest Wales are not going to make Brazil as Serbia and Belgium (yay Walter!) have this group sewn up. But Wales need a good finish to help their coefficient for future qualifying.Not sure about Rambo’s fitness but given the Welsh have announced that Gareth Bale will not play 90 minutes in either fixture, our Welshman will have to carry that team once again if he’s passed fit. I love Aaron Ramsey; I have always believed in him and just hope this year he continues to show all those doubters just how good he is.

England entertain (I use the term loosely) Moldova at Wem-ber-ley before flying out to Kiev for the harder test against Ukraine. Let’s face it, our qualification is far from certain and the Owl-like one is beset by injuries (Sturridge, Rooney, and Jack is still ill). So basically it’s down to Theo to win the game single handedly and stay fit to do the same in Kiev. I can’t see either thing happening to be honest, and I worry for the lad coming back crocked. Let’s pray he is ok, same for JW10. Greg Dyke now says he is aiming for England to win the World Cup in 2022, Jack for captain then anyone?

Tomas Rosicky should play for the Czech republic against Armenia and Italy, the latter being much the harder fixture. Group B is a tough one, the Czechs are third with 9 points, behind Bulgaria (10) and Italy (12). The little Mozart could do with a Bulgarian defeat and an away win against the Azerri, and he will be dancing his way to Brazil.

Our madcap keeper has two fixtures, a tricky one at home against Montenegro followed by a fairly easy (on paper at least) away tie against the minnows of San Marino. The latter have conceded 29 goals so far and failed to score. Szczesny’s confidence might take one hell of a dip if they lose that one! Poland’s chances of qualifying look slim, they have Ukraine (11), England (12) and Montenegro (14) above them but this is a tight group and who knows what will happen. England fans should be hoping Szczesny keeps a clean sheet against Montenegro.

What about the French? Again Arsenal fans might be crossing their collective fingers given that we have three players in the squad (Koscielny, Sagna and Giroud). France lie second in their group, behind Spain, and Georgia should be a pushover as should Belarus. I’d expect them to bag all six points and hopefully, if he gets on the Handsome One (OG) can fill his boots. Which leaves us with Spain who play Finland away on Friday. They only drew with the Finns last time so this might not be easy for them. Santi and Monreal are in the squad but you never know if Del Bosque will choose to play them – let’s hope he gives Nacho a game because he needs minutes, but leaves Santi on the bench (or in the hotel with a good book), cos he doesn’t.

Have I missed anyone? I’m sure someone will tell me.

Enjoy the games whatever your country of origin but keep your fingers crossed all our players come back fit and well.


*(only those games where AFC players are involved)

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25 Replies to “Untold International review: the world cup qualifiers from an Arsenal perspective”

  1. I usually don’t see at the international games. And if I see at a game I usually picked Germany over the last years. The quality of their football is a pleasure for the eye. So I have enjoyed already a bit of Özil in the last years.

    But if I have anything else to do I do rather that than watch the internationals. So tonight I have to do my own game at the same time so will not be watching. But I think I might record the Germany game.

    And for the rest keep my fingers crossed that all our players come back injury free.

  2. Walter, what is your feeling towards the Belgian team? You don’t seem to be terribly nationalistic! They are certainly getting plenty of admiring comments over here.

  3. You forgot we now have an Italian, Viviano stays on the bench when Buffon is between the posts..

  4. Hope our guys are not overlytaxed and will be able to come back ready to go in the EPL.
    I really would not be bothered to get up at 3am to watch internationals ever as the are included in my cable subscription . Other than Arsenal , I just cannot sit thru 90 mins watching another team.
    The Ukraine game would probably be played at a earlier time so ,we’ll see how that goes .
    But I ‘d like to see the goals and highlights .

  5. hmmmnnn…feels good to be back after a week. Spent a couple of days reading all that I missed.

    I hope this ‘Cold-man’ doesnt over play Ramsey.

  6. Pete,
    only 3 years ago the Belgium national team went to some former Russian country (can’t remember the name) and they had 1 (one) supporter going there. He got the headlines in the papers more than the game.

    So now 9.000 going to Glasgow is immense. Being a bad boy I could say that that will be 8.999 plastics or success supporters or trophy hunters and 1 real supporter going there. 😉

    Of course I am not blind and I do see that compared to a while ago when we could barely qualify even for the San Marino cup (don’t think it exists but we might have won that one if it would have existed) and now we have a very talented team with lots of youngsters.

    Many of those youngsters have been learned how to play football in France and Holland.
    But since a while we even have young players who have been educated in Belgium. A few clubs have a great youth academy. Like Racing Genk who have produced De Bruyne, Courtois (a keeper we should have bought), Benteke and I even forget a few.

    So I think our clubs have learned from clubs in France and Holland and have adopted their training methods and the first results are to be seen. I suggest the FA should most of all look at Spain, France, Germany and Holland to see how it should be done. And then look at Belgium to see how a country can go from being crap to producing talented young players in a period of 10 years time.

    I still can’t be bothered about the results of the national team to be honest. I’m not really nationalistic when it comes to Belgium.

    I prefer and rate good football more and higher than a country or my own country. And I just can’t get the images of Belgium playing anti-football for decades out of my head…It will take a few decades of attractive football before I will be able to follow it I’m afraid.

  7. I wonder how many Arsenal fans will prefer to watch the Germany/Austria game for their first view of Ozil?

  8. I have sat here for ten minutes trying to think of a comment and all I can come up with is
    OZIL. sorry.

  9. Thanks Walter.

    In times gone by I used to care deeply about England’s fortunes – particularly at major finals. Now, I find it difficult to care. Partly because I am not very nationalistic, partly because the players have been so limited – and apparently many personally obnoxious.

    So, although I won’t be watching the game tonight, I will try to see the Ukraine game on Tuesday as that seems to be the key match.

    If we qualify we will then likely get eliminated early in the knockout phase – narrowly – but probably after a long rearguard action during which we will hardly venture out of our half!

    With Belgium, I have always wondered whether the political issues you have with an apparently split country has undermined support for the national team?

  10. My perennial favourite national team is Holland. They have always produce good football playing sides even if they don’t win many trophies (kind of like a good football playing club in recent years 🙂 ). I am rooting for the Germans now because they are playing good football and 3 of them are Gunners (it still feels very good to type that). I wish all the national teams of our players well because good results for them will be good morale boosters when they return. But most important of all, I want them to return in good health.

    I won’t say that I hate the international breaks but they are freaking annoying. I think, from Arsenal’s perspective, this one came at a good time though.

  11. Pete,
    I think it does.

    Like chanting the national anthem. It exists now in the 3 official languages there are in Belgium: Dutch – French – German.
    But if you fill a ground with those you might sing it in French, I would sing it in Dutch and the next one in German and so we end up with a kakophonie. So usually nobody sings anything.

    Some people are more in favour of the British way of doing it. They say we should have a Flemish team and a Walloon team. A bit like the Scottish, Welsh, English, NI team models.

    Bad communication has been a big problem in games apparently in the past. And when a national manager comes from Flanders he is quickly written off by the Walloon media and when he comes from the Walloon region he is quickly written off by the Flemish media.
    And a foreign coach even quicker if he cannot speak both languages in a good way.

    Yes it definitely produces some problems. I wouldn’t be surprised that the players speak English amongst each other on the field these days. After all, most play in England so will understand the hastily spoken words in English well enough.

    And as I said before we only come out when we have success like in the world cup in Mexico in 86 then we went football mad for 10 days and then after that nobody cared. And now we are close to having a little bit of a good spell they come back.

    If you cant support when things go bad, no need to turn up now I think.

    I never turned up in fact. 🙂

  12. @Pete,
    Glad I’m not alone in my recent disinterest in the national team. I’ll watch if Arsenal players are on the field, otherwise I would prefer to follow the fortunes of other national sides(always provided that Arsenal players are included).
    England simply doesn’t play attractive and exciting football. The team may grind out the odd result but
    I cannot see any real progress in Brazil next year (although I think they Will qualify).

  13. An interesting article and timely. However, my main hope is for no injuries – on too many occasions our players have come back crocked and have been unavailable for months.

    It looks as if Wilshere is playing today, lets hope Hodgson does not overplay him.

    It would be wonderful if our squad suffered no further injuries ahead of the Sunderland match & AW can start remoulding his best team.

  14. May I also add, in Belgium’s case, that they have a system where players who may be late developers or ‘fall out of the Academy structure’ at 16-18 are often picked up, pooled together and continue to be coached until the age of 23. This is a fairly recent development and something that may be of benefit in England. Indeed, Arsenal benefited from one of the best examples of a late developer in Ian Wright who didn’t break through into the professional game until his early twenties…

  15. In general, I think I now care considerably less about international football as a whole. For me, the World Cup used to be the high point of my life – and I would go out of my way to watch as many of the games as I could. Once, I think I only missed 3 (excepting the final group games played at the same time). I used to love watching wonderful players I had never seen, learning about different cultures and countries, appreciating different styles of play/tactics. And it was great to see how much of a collective party it all was. Even if England weren’t there or were knocked out early – there was still plenty to enjoy.

    More recently, work and family commitments have made watching games much more difficult (although circumstances then allowed me to watch many of the 2010 games).

    I guess the ever-expanding tournament, the bloated commercial side, the FIFA behaviour, the inappropriate venues have much diminished my enjoyment. I guess also the fact that nearly all the best players are in the Champions League (and, if not, many in the Premier League – or both), the styles of play being more homogenised really don’t help. And domestic Leagues (particularly England) are so multi-national now there is a real disconnect from the national team. How many of the England team would get in the Arsenal team (a good question, that one!)?

    There is no mystery or surprise any more – like when Cameroon beat Argentina in 1990.

    Very sad in a way. I recall a former work colleague who was a fan of Liege (can’t remember if they had a prefix or suffix – but definitely not Standard…) and his club disappeared 15 or so years ago and the stadium became a car park. He didn’t want to follow any other Belgian team and became quite alienated from the game (he was a good player!).

    I just hope nothing like that ever happens to Arsenal – one of the reasons I am so passsionate about the sustainable business model. My love of Arsenal is undimmed from when I was 7!

  16. Must admit, losing interest in the international game for a number of reasons, corruption/ Blatter /Warner / Chuck Blazer/ FIFA being just part of it. But looking for positives, I would make an educated guess that by next summer, we will have 2 or 3 World Cup winners in the squad, so hopefully that can only be good for these players and our team.
    Just want our players back safe and well

  17. Just received this e-mail and am posting it here for those who may appreciate its meaning .Or just to wile away the time till kickoff !


    An Angel says, ‘Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.’

    1). Pray
    2). Go to bed on time.
    3). Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
    4). Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
    5). Delegate tasks to capable others.
    6). Simplify and unclutter your life.
    7). Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
    8). Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
    9). Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
    10). Take one day at a time.
    11). Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.
    12). Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
    13). Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
    14). K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
    15). Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
    16). Carry a Book with you to read while waiting in line.
    17). Get enough rest.
    18). Eat right.
    19). Get organized so everything has its place.
    20). Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
    21). Write down thoughts and inspirations.
    22). Every day, find time to be alone.
    23). Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray..
    24). Make friends with Godly people.
    25). Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
    26). Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good ‘Thank you my Almighty God’
    27). Laugh.
    28). Laugh some more!
    29)) Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
    30). Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
    31). Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
    32). Sit on your ego.
    33). Talk less; listen more.
    34). Slow down.
    35). Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
    36). Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before.


    ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31)

  18. Have to disagree Blacksheep, the stand out tie for me is Italy Vs Czech republic (involving gooners). If you really want to watch a good international I’d go for Bosnia Vs Slovakia or Ireland Vs Sweden. Scotland Vs Belgium should be a good game as well. But I’m going to try and watch Czech republic Vs Armenia (if I can find it).

  19. I was recently upbraided for bringing international politics onto the blog, but now that Putin has brought provincial football into international politics, I feel more justified.

    He said that Russia owns Chelsea, and that Britain is a small country because we’ve pawned our football teams.

    Is he really saying that we are so impoverished and desperate as a nation, that we’ve had to flog our football clubs?

    If this is true, then everything else falls into place. People do desperate things as a result of poverty. If it’s all about the highest bidder, are not referees little more than auctioneers?

  20. Marcus, Putin’s just pissed, that we have given some of his high earning capitalists a way out of trouble. He hasn’t had things all his own way whilst trying to regain control over Russia’s mineral wealth.

    You want irony? I just watched the highlights of Schalke Vs Bayer Leverkusen.

    Bayer (owners of Bayer Leverkusen) the only company in the world still trading who had their own sub-camp at Auschwitz (Austchwitz III monowitz) where Josef Mengele frequented from time to time.

    FC Schalke 04 sponsored by Gazprom the worlds largest supplier of gas (not zyklon B).

  21. lol.

    A lot more Companies than we would like to imagine have their roots in Nazi Germany. I know IBM for instance has a murky past with human barcodes, the Pharmaceutical industry stems from a merger of IG Farben and Standard Oil, (I think Farben is related to Bayer), and so on so on.

    Tony reckons that the financial interests behind English clubs are often impossible to untangle, unless you are an experienced accounting fraud team…..

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