EIGHT Arsenal players were selected to go to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This increased to 9 once Arsenal announced a pre-contract agreement with Stephan Lichtsteiner. Of the 9, just one remains.
First to be knocked out was Mohamed Elneny’s Egypt.
With Mohamed Salah still crying over hurting his shoulder, Egypt finished bottom of their group as one of only 2 sides to fail to get a point – the other being Panama.
Alex Iwobi’s Nigeria still the hearts of millions with their popular kit, and would probably consider themselves unlucky to have been knocked out in the group stages.
In one of the toughest groups alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, they were looking like going through at Argentina’s expense until an 86th minute goal by Marcus Rojo destroyed the hopes of a nation; and at the same time the behaviour of Diego Maradona shaming a nation.
The coked up drug treat showing that he was not becoming classy with age by making offensive hand gestures towards Nigeria fans at the final whistle. And getting paid by FIFA to do so.
Mesut Ozil took the brunt of the blame for Germany’s group stage exit. The strong criticsm feels like it has a nasty undertone as Ozil was certainly not amongst the worst players for his national side.
Ozil is a little bit different. A Muslim of Turkish heritage. Whilst the likes of Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich escaped criticism, Ozil became a figure of hate within Germany. However Germany’s early exit could benefit Arsenal as there is talk that he could now retire from playing for his country.
Joel Campbell’s Costa Rica finished bottom of a tough group that contained Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia. He set up a goal and one a penalty in their final game, but he and his country failed to hit the high notes that they did 4 years ago.
Spain would have been delighted with their last 16 knock out game tie against lowest ranked (and hosts) Russia. They lost on penalties, sending Nacho Monreal home. The Spaniard has basically had a 2 weeks holiday in Russia as he failed to play a game.
Another surprising result, although not as severe, was Switzerland losing 1-0 to Sweden sending home Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner.
In the final game of the last 16, England knocked out Colombia on penalties.
Keeper David Ospina could have been the hero, saving from Jordan Henderson. But two missed penalties from Colombia and then Ospina’s weak wrists saw the South American side get knocked out, upsetting that coke head Maradona.
England and Welbeck were through, Colombia out.
With pre-season training already beginning, Arsenal have a strong 16 players already back at London Colney preparing for the new season.
The early exits by some means that the likes of Mesut Ozil could well return for the first game of the season against Manchester City.
Is the ideal final England v Uruguay? 0-0 when Lucas Torreira breaks Harry Kanes face, Welbeck comes on, scores, England win 1-0.
It’s coming home guys, it’s coming home.