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04th Dec 2022

Arsene Wenger claims teams who focused on politics at World Cup did worse

Simon Lloyd

Wenger Germany

Wenger has suggested the players weren’t ‘mentally ready’

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested the teams who made political statements during the World Cup group stages saw their on-field performance suffer as a result.

Wenger, now FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, was appearing at a media briefing for FIFA’s Technical Study Group in Doha, with Jurgen Klinsmann also on stage.

Klinsmann had spoken about the need for players to be prepared mentally and physically for the timing and location of the tournament, referencing both Germany and Denmark, who have both been eliminated at the group stage.

Wenger Germany

“If you struggled to adapt, to come here and for whatever reason – especially mentally – were not able to adapt yourself to everything you find here and how dynamic this World Cup is, you will struggle,” Klinsmann said.

“And you will get a negative surprise like we saw with Germany, we saw with Denmark and other teams.”

Wenger followed up Klinsmann’s comments, saying:

“I would just add that the teams who were not disappointing with their first game performance – because when you go to the World Cup, you know not to lose the first game – were the teams who have experience.

Wenger Germany

“They have results in former tournaments like France, like England, like Brazil. They played well in the first game.

“And the teams, as well, who were mentally ready, like Jurgen said, that had the mindset to focus on competition and not on the political demonstrations.”

Denmark wore specially toned-down shirts for their three games in Qatar as a protest at the alleged human rights abuses and migrant worker deaths in the country as it prepared for the World Cup.

Germany, meanwhile. strongly objective at FIFA’s decision to ban them from wearing a rainbow armband in support of LGBTQ+ people, and their players posed by covering their mouths ahead of their opening game against Japan.

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