The 2022 World Cup is officially underway, with day two marking the first involvement of Arsenal’s 10 representatives.
football.london kept tabs on the Gunners stars’ preparations for the tournament in Qatar and will be covering the performances of those who play for their respective national teams each day whilst also providing updates on those who are still training and gearing up for their fixtures.
It’s safe to say that Monday’s action from the World Cup will live long in the memory of Arsenal supporters as one extremely popular first-team player, in particular, delivered the perfect response to what happened in the Euro 2020 final penalty shootout 16 months ago.
Of course, we start with Bukayo Saka as he marked his World Cup debut with two goals as England thrashed Iran 6-2 and the brace puts him in surprise Golden Boot contention. Meanwhile, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand heavily praised him: “He’s devastating, sitting at the top of the league with Arsenal confidence must be high,” the pundit said during the BBC’s post-match analysis.
“Sterling’s play, but it’s the patience, slows the defender down, patient again, it’s a wonderful finish from a player that looked like he seen this situation so many times in his career. I’ve seen it and played with players in this situation, they rush it and get the shot off, and they scuff. That was cool and calm.”
In the final game of the day, Matt Turner made his first start for club or country since October 20 and he was 10 minutes or so from keeping a clean sheet on his return to action. However, ex-Tottenham and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale had other ideas from the penalty spot.
Even though, the Arsenal goalkeeper guessed correctly, the effort was struck with too much power as USA had to settle for a share of the points against Wales.
After it was confirmed that Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli will wear no.18 and no.26 for Brazil respectively at the World Cup, the Arsenal pair took part in a training session with the rest of the squad ahead of the pre-tournament favourites’ group phase opener against Serbia later this week.
With Switzerland in the same group, a Gunners showdown is on the cards next Monday as one would expect Granit Xhaka to start and captain the European nation. But his focus is on this Thursday’s game against Cameroon and the midfielder has spent the past 24 hours recovering and doing some analysis.
William Saliba has trained and is potentially hours away from making his World Cup debut as France kick-off at 7pm (UK time) against Australia. However, he may have to do so from the substitutes bench as reports claim Didier Deschamps will start Dayot Upamecano alongside either Raphael Varane or Ibrahima Konate.
Thomas Partey has been active on social media ahead of Ghana’s opener against Portugal on Thursday, whilst Takehiro Tomiyasu trained with the Japan squad once again. It remains to be seen if he will be named in the starting line-up to face Germany after missing the 2-1 loss at the hands of Canada last week.