The decision to allow Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand to stay on the field after a brutal head knock has been bagged by experts and pundits alike, as arguments around concussion continue to fester across the entire sporting world.
Beiranvand stayed down after a head clash with a teammate, but was allowed to continue despite a bleeding nose and bloodied clothes, before collapsing and volunteering himself to be removed a minute later.
The situation ended with a staggering 14 minutes of stoppage time added to the end of the first half of England’s win over Iran, and despite the senational form of the English, the incident with Beiranvand was a far bigger issue.
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Headway, a brain injury charity, released a scathing statement of the situation through its interim CEO, Luke Griggs.
“It is an utter disgrace that the Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand was allowed to stay on the pitch,” he said in a statement to PA.
“It was irrelevant that he came off a minute later, he shouldn’t have stayed on for a second, let alone a minute.
“He was clearly distressed and unfit to continue, this seems to be another case of the decision being made by the player and not medical staff.
“This was the first test of the FIFA World Cup concussion protocol and it was an abject failure.”
On BBC’s World Cup coverage, former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas slammed the situation as a “joke”.
“It’s 2022 and we are having so many discussions about concussion protocols,” he said.
“That’s why these protocols are in place. This is not OK.”
England captain Harry Maguire was also taken off, in the second half, with a suspected concussion.
Lioness stands tall after armband controversy
While Harry Kane did not don the ‘One Love’ armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights, one former England international did – TV pundit Alex Scott.
Scott, who racked up 140 caps for the women’s team, was on the pitch ahead of the game between Iran and England, with the symbol clearly visible on her left arm.
A small gesture, but one that won her plenty of praise online.
Gakpo’s star continues to shine
Cody Gakpo was linked to the likes of Leeds and Southampton before the transfer window slammed shut a couple of months ago, but his star has rapidly risen since – and should he leave PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie, he will likely be aiming a bit higher now.
The 23-year-old tops that league in both goals and assists, and won the Player of the Month award for both September and October.
He kept that red-hot form going in an Oranje kit on day two of the World Cup, scoring a late winner for the Dutch in a massive game against Senegal.
Atmosphere arrives at the World Cup
While the opening game was plagued by the issue of empty seats as Qatar fell behind early on, and the first two games a day later both fell somewhat flat in terms of crowd involvement, the likes of the USA and Wales finally got it going.
The latter were in especially fine form, as a huge red wall behind the goals at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium belted out a stirring rendition of their national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, before the nation’s first World Cup game since 1958.
On the other side, there were plenty of “USA” chants as well, and also the particularly obnoxious chorus of I Believe That We Will Win on a couple of occasions.
But when Wales got a penalty with 10 minutes to go, the stadium erupted – and only got louder when Gareth Bale stepped up and slotted it home.
Weah gives United States the lead
Arnie locked in to starting XI
Australia coach Graham Arnold didn’t give too much away at his pre-match press conference, but did say there’d be no late-night tinkering to his line-up ahead of the game against France.
“I am allowed 11 and we have got 11,” he told reporters.
“I know the starting line-up, I will tell the players tonight and practice with that tonight.
“But the most important thing is the three main messages I have been driving since I have been here is about belief, about the energy and the focus.
“And the focus is on ourselves and making sure we get our jobs rights, get our minds right, and get out there with a load of energy to put in a great performance to make the nation proud.”
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