It’s international week now. No Fulham fix until we go to Birmingham on November 21st. There’s plenty of intrigue on the world scene though. Will Cristiano Ronaldo play for Portugal? Can Ireland overcome France? And there’s an England-Brazil friendly for Fabio Capello to try and prove that the national team won’t actually come unstuck against the top nations.
The logic behind playing the game in Doha is simple. Nobody will actually try and tell you it’s about growing the game because it’s so obviously about money. I can understand Brazil playing friendlies in Europe during the European season as so many of their players are based on the continent, but staging a game in Qatar might actually add to their fatigue rather than remove it. It’s almost too predictable that the brains behind this decision are Kentaro, the same people who tried to make us pay to watch England in the Ukraine on the internet recently.
Spare a thought for the people of Brazil, for whom football is a religion. If you live there, you’ll only catch them live in a qualifier. Brazil’s recent friendlies have taken them to Dortmund, Montpellier, Chicago, Boston, Dublin, Seattle and Tallin. They have also played a couple of games at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in recent seasons. After the England game, Brazil will play Oman in Doha. Not exactly stellar opposition against which to test themselves for the forthcoming World Cup.
Everyone likes Brazil. When you see the football they play and the colour their fans bring to an international tournament, it’s not hard to see why. But that’s part of the problem. They won’t be many Brazilians or English fans in Qatar on Saturday – because it’s too far away and too expensive to travel. FIFA don’t care and, if the TV executives are happy, neither do the respective football associations. Money makes the football world go round.