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Norwich City needs to take note of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Updated  

Nov-23 17:35 first published at 17:35 PM


Let me begin with a confession.

My column from two weeks ago was about my disdain for the World Cup in Qatar.

To be clear, I still believe it was entirely inappropriate to host the greatest football tournament on the planet in the country for all of the reasons I outlined last time.

There has already been a string of problems that were widely predicted to occur.

Fans are being overcharged for food and drinks, supporters are being harassed by security staff for displaying messages supporting LGBTQ+ people, and media organizations are in disarray as they try to gain accreditation.

FIFA has buried its head in the sand in so many ways that this competition will be forever marred.

My issue is that I find it difficult not to watch football.

If I’m driving and come to a stop at a traffic light and there’s a game on a pitch beside the road, I want the lights to stay red so I can watch what happens.

I can’t stop myself from being gripped whether it’s the best teams in the world playing beautiful football or two village sides scrapping it out.

I can’t say I’ve watched every minute of every match so far, but I’ve tuned in quite a bit.

We have a “fans’ zone” in our office, primarily to allow staff to cheer England during their lunch break during Monday’s opening match against Iran.

However, it has become a popular spot for people to take a break during the day and catch a glimpse of the action, as it is surrounded by flags from all 32 participating countries. And, with the start times as they are, it’s ideal for daytime viewing.

The tournament is clearly still in its early stages. However, there have already been a number of intriguing observations, one of which has been the massively long periods of added on minutes to combat time wasting.

While it can be frustrating if you’re desperate to win, I support the principle of cracking down on time wasters.

So, what can Norwich City take away from the tournament so far, as the players and officials relax in Tampa and prepare for the return to action against Swansea in a couple of weeks?

One of my main complaints about the Canaries this season has been their lack of tempo and energy in games.

I’m fully aware that Gareth Southgate’s men will face far more difficult tests than the Iranians did in the opener.

However, the Three Lions were on the front foot almost from the start, moving the ball quickly and being extremely positive.

They did not allow Iran to settle into a defensive posture; instead, they constantly made things difficult for them through innovative creativity and intent, taking advantage of opportunities.

Another thing England did, as midfielder Declan Rice pointed out after the game, was respond to their critics.

The team arrived in Qatar 2022 after a six-match losing streak and relegation from the Nations League.

Rice’s simple verdict was, “We wanted to prove a lot of people wrong.”

The boos from the Carrow Road crowd at the end of Middlesbrough’s defeat may still ring in the players’ ears as they relax in the Florida sun.

It was one of several instances during the campaign when there was a significant vocal expression of displeasure.

Come on, City, respond to the critics (including myself) by getting this season up and running as soon as the action resumes.

Belief. Dean Smith’s men have been lacking in another area.

For the remainder of the Championship season, I recommend taking a page from Saudi Arabia’s book.

Clearly, they were massive underdogs against Argentina’s might.

They fell behind, survived three disallowed goals, and were under a lot of pressure.

The heads did not drop, and they displayed incredible faith to pull off one of the greatest World Cup upsets in history.

Finally, we have been frustrated with City because when they do go ahead in games, they are unable to capitalize on their advantage, allowing opponents to re-enter the game.

I’ll never compare World Champions France to the NR1 team. However, the way the French clinically asserted their superiority must serve as a lesson for City as they face weaker opponents.

So, where will the Three Lions be in two weeks when I write my next column?

We’ve got an exciting fortnight ahead of us, and what happens on the training pitches in Tampa and then back at Colney is just as important for us fans in yellow and green glasses.

OTBC

Josh, hurry up!

This week, as we discussed our very own Josh Sargent’s preparations for the start of his World Cup dream, a coworker posed an intriguing question.

Do we want the striker to have a good tournament, score a lot of goals, and potentially put himself in the shop window for other clubs to bid on him in January?

Or do we hope that the Americans quickly withdraw, Sarge goes unnoticed, and returns in time to prepare for the Swansea match with no injuries?

I’m completely in the former camp.

He appears to be a fantastic young man, and what a fantastic opportunity this is for him.

It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Josh, and I hope it is as successful as it can be for him.

I was thrilled that he started against Wales and thought he performed admirably.

He came so close to scoring when he hit the post with a header in the first half.

I thought he could have been used better and made a few good runs without getting the service he deserved.

And what a night it will be for him if he can get off to a good start against England.

Kenny would benefit from relocating.

Few Norwich players are as well-known among fans as Kenny McLean.

Some people adore him, while others believe he has had his day.

Dean Smith clearly appreciates him, especially given his versatility at a time when there have been so many injuries.

Kenny will be remembered fondly by fans for his incredible “mayor of Norwich” performance on the City Hall balcony during the promotion celebrations.

Kenny has undoubtedly made significant contributions on the field during his four years with us.

His contract expires in June, and there is growing speculation that he will return to Scotland.

Whether we go up or not, the summer will be critical for Norwich.

And, while I’d miss Kenny terribly, I believe a fresh start up north would be beneficial to all parties.

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