The last step before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar: Australia and Peru face off tonight in the host country of the 2022 World Cup (November 21-December 18) for a place in Group D of the French world champions , Denmark and Tunisia.
Peru, 22nd nation in the FIFA rankings and 5th in qualifying for the South American zone, is aiming for a sixth participation in the World Cup, the second in a row after 2018 after 36 years of absence. Australia, 42nd nation in the world and 3rd in its qualifying group, kept its hopes of playing a sixth World Cup alive by beating the United Arab Emirates (2-1) in a pre-play-off match in the Asia zone. The two countries have faced each other only once before, in the first round – group stage – of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, in a match that ended in a victory (2-0) for the South Americans, already under the leadership of Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca.
There are still two tickets out of 32 to win for the first World Cup in an Arab country: tomorrow Tuesday, also in Qatar, Costa Rica and New Zealand will decide for a place in the group E record – with Spain, Germany and Japan.
France in danger
France, title holder of the League of Nations, no longer has a choice: to aim for the Final Four or even avoid relegation, and to alleviate the doubts that cross it five months before the World Cup, it must beat Croatia tonight , revived by its narrow victory (1-0) in Denmark. Meanwhile, Denmark will receive Austria.
The Blues are in bad shape: an initial defeat against the Danes (1-2) followed by two unconvincing draws in Croatia and Austria, on the same score (1-1). Or two points gleaned and an unenviable place of red lantern of the group for the reigning world champions. The Croats were just as bad off, but everything changed thanks to last Friday’s success at Parken in Copenhagen with a goal from Mario Pasalic and, above all, the omnipresence of Luka Modric.
Fatigue, injuries, the need to get the youngest players to play, the lack of success… there are plenty of excuses. But for this last match before the holidays, the Blues have no room for error. To take three crucial points, coach Didier Deschamps hopes to be able to line up Kylian Mbappé, who came into play late but decisive last Friday in Austria, and perhaps Karim Benzema, unless the latter, also tired, gives way to Christopher Nkunku in point.
In addition, between a Germany again hooked, in Hungary (1-1) this time, and England and Italy which neutralized each other (0-0), the classification of this very tough group remained frozen after the 3rd day of the League of Nations. The Germans have therefore again conceded a draw, after those in Italy on the 1st day and at home against England for the 2nd day. Italy still leads the way with a head start over second-placed Hungary. Germany remains third at two points behind Italy, which it will receive tomorrow Tuesday in Mönchengladbach. England, bottom, will host Hungary.
On the other hand, led (2-0) by Poland, the Netherlands finally got a draw (2-2) in Rotterdam. And without a missed penalty in stoppage time by Memphis Depay, the leaders of this group could even have won. The Oranje, however, retain the lead of the group ahead of Belgium, held in check by Wales (1-1) in Cardiff. Brennan Johnson offered the point of draw to the Welsh, freshly qualified for the World Cup in Qatar, but who remain the red lantern of the group.
Outside the lawns, the International board (Ifab), guarantor of football laws, is meeting today in Doha, capital of the host country of the World Cup, for its 136th annual general meeting during which it must, in particular, assess the effectiveness of semi-automatic offside. In addition, the “Board” should validate the lasting principle of five changes per game and once again look into the hands in the box, sources of inexhaustible controversy.
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) still aims to apply semi-automatic offside detection, tested in February at the Club World Cup, but its effective use has not yet been confirmed. It is currently absent from the regulations. However, the Ifab will not decide today whether semi-automatic offside will be used at the next Qatari World Cup. On the one hand, it is the organizer, here FIFA, who chooses. On the other hand, video refereeing has already been used in the World Cup since 2018 and it would only be “an additional tool for VAR”, not a new rule, specifies FIFA. “The semi-automatic offside system still needs to be assessed before a final decision is made,” she adds.
The Ifab general assembly could also validate the five changes per team, already practiced almost everywhere since the Covid-19 period introduced this possibility. In October 2021, the guardian of the laws of the game had left the choice to each competition to adopt the five changes or not. This amendment to football’s “Law 3”, usually providing for a maximum of three substitutions per match, was decided in May 2020 by Ifab and was to run until the end of 2021 for club competitions and until July 31, 2022 for international meetings. The measure was extended until December 31, 2022, after a “comprehensive analysis of the current impact of Covid-19 on football”. Not all competitions had opted for an increase in the number of substitutes, with the Premier League being the most notable defaulters. The “Board” could also clarify the rule of hands in the surface, which always generates severe or misunderstood and disputed penalties, and controversies. Finally, a discussion on rule 11, that of offside, is on the agenda, as well as on the attempts to change in the event of concussions, with the establishment of two specific substitutes. But the low number of incidences does not yet allow reliable conclusions to be drawn.
FIFA holds four out of eight votes in Ifab decisions, with the other four historically owned by the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish FAs.
The last step before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar: Australia and Peru face off tonight in the host country of the 2022 World Cup (November 21-December 18) for a place in Group D of the French world champions , Denmark and Tunisia.Peru, 22nd nation in the FIFA rankings and 5th in qualifying for the South American zone, is aiming for a sixth…