By RYAN TOLMICH
Despite recent comments from a FIFA official to the contrary, Qatari officials remain firm when it comes to their World Cup preparations.
FIFA executive Theo Zwanziger voiced his belief that the 2022 World Cup should be held elsewhere due to climate concerns, but Qatar 2022 communications director Nasser Al Khater insists that the tournament will go on as planned on Qatari soil.
“The only question now is when, not if,” Al Khater said in a statement. “Summer or winter, we will be ready.”
Al Khater went on to say that Qatar continues to have faith in their ability to maintain a healthy environment.
“We have proven that a FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the summer is possible with state-of-the-art cooling technology,” said Al Khater. “We have demonstrated that our cooling works in outdoor areas beyond stadiums. This summer we welcomed fans in Doha to an open-air Brazil 2014 Fan Zone with temperatures cooled to a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius.
“The evolution of environmentally-friendly cooling technologies is an important legacy for our nation, region and for countries with similar climates – promising to expand the reach of hosting major sporting events to countries where it was never thought possible before.”
Here are some more of Monday’s news and notes:
ARSENAL’S DEBUCHY TO MISS THREE MONTHS AFTER ANKLE SURGERY
Few teams in Europe have been bitten by the injury bug quite as hard as Arsenal, who will now be without yet another key player for an extended period of time.
Defender Mathieu Debuchy, who signed from Newcastle just this summer, is set to miss three months after suffering ligament damage in a draw with Manchester City back on Sept. 13.
“He had surgery on Friday and will be out for three months,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “A reasonable delay is three months. All went well. It can be a week or two earlier or a week or two later but it will be around three months.
“It is a blow. How big it will be we will only know afterwards because it will be down to how well we replace him. We bought (Callum) Chambers for that.”
Debuchy joins Nacho Monreal, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry on Arsenal’s injury list, meaning Wenger will likely be forced to turn to some of the club’s young stars for this Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash with Southampton.
“On Tuesday night you might see Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Isaac Hayden,” Wenger said. “In the squad we have Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi as well. These are the players that are the closest.”
BORUSSIA DORTMUND’S GUNDOGAN COULD RETURN WEDNESDAY
After more than a year away due to injury, Ilkay Gundogan may finally be set to make his long-awaited return.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been out for 13 months after suffering a back injury while on international duty with Germany, but the 23-year-old is back in training and awaiting his comeback game.
However, manager Jurgen Klopp insists that he won’t rush the midfielder back as Gundogan eases back into fitness after spending over a year away from the game.
“With Ilkay it looks great,” Klopp said, “but we must ensure that he gets fitness. If you believe that someone is after 14 months out with two weeks full training should be back in the squad – there must be a squad really have problems.”
Klopp’s side return to action Wednesday against Stuttgart after suffering a 2-0 loss to Mainz last time out.
DESPITE RECENT BACKING, TEVEZ NOT IN LATEST ARGENTINA SQUAD
After spending the past few seasons away from the international game, Carlos Tevez expecting to return to the Argentina National Team set-up.
However, that return will not come in the Albiceleste’s upcoming tour of Asia.
Manager Gerardo Martino has released a squad of 19 foreign-based league players for Argentina’s Asian-based friendlies with Brazil on Oct. 11 and Hong Kong Oct. 14. Included on Martino’s squad is a returning Lionel Messi, who missed out on his nation’s last game due to injury.
However, despite being rumored to be on the squad, Tevez’s name was not on the list, although Martino insisted he was happy with the striker’s recent form with Juventus.
“I am not going to say if he is or is not in the next call-up,” Martino said, “but what does need to be said is what Tévez himself declared: ‘I have to work hard on the pitch to win a place,’ and he is undoubtedly doing very well.”
Here is the rest of Argentina’s foreign-based squad for their upcoming Asian friendlies:
Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzmán, Sergio Romero.
Defenders: Santiago Vergini, Mateo Musacchio, Pablo Zabaleta, Martín Demichelis, Marcos Rojo, Federico Fernández.
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano, Roberto Pereyra, Lucas Biglia, Javier Pastore, Angel Di María, Erik Lamela, Enzo Pérez, Nicolás Gaitán.
Attackers: Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero.
How confident are you in Qatar’s cooling technology? How will Arsenal cope with so many injuries? How much of a difference will Gundogan make for Borussia Dortmund this season? What do you think about Tevez’s exclusion?
Share your thoughts below.