Qatar critic Denmark to face Arab people Tunisia at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) – When Denmark meets Tunisia at the World Cup On Tuesday, one of the most outspoken critics of Qatar’s tournament will take on one of four Arab nations. competition.

The game at Education City Stadium will also mark the return of Christian Eriksen to a major tournament after a cardiac arrest. at last year’s European Championship.

Denmark have set themselves high goals after reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020 followed by a near-perfect qualifying campaign, while Tunisia are aiming to qualify from the group stage for the first time in their sixth World Cup appearance.

Since arriving in Qatar, Denmark has been training in black kits to mourn migrant workers. who died building infrastructure for the tournament.

Denmark also planned to wear the One Love anti-discrimination armband along with other European teams before the campaign was dropped. when FIFA threatened to hand out yellow cards.

“Imagine that you enter the field with a clear yellow card. It’s not possible and we have to make sure the players don’t have to make this decision,” said Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand.

Tunisia coach Jalal Qadri also addressed the armband issue.

“We are in an Arab country with Islamic traditions. We must respect the culture of other people,” Qadri said in Arabic through an interpreter. “We are here in Qatar and I think Qatar’s policy is to respect everyone’s culture and religious beliefs.”

The sporting director of the Danish Football Union, Peter Møller, criticized the way FIFA President Gianni Infantino lectured the media. on the eve of the tournament, for attacking Qatar’s reputation for human rights and defending the host country’s last-minute decision to ban beer from stadiums.

“I don’t agree with some of the things he said. He speaks down to journalists and to us, to the federations,” Møller said.

“On the one hand, I’m surprised by this, but on the other hand, it shows that he used a whole speech to discuss what we and other federations are fighting against, so he knows very well that this is a hot potato and what he needs. sort it out the next time a host is selected,” Møller added.

Also last week, the Qatari organizers apologized to the Danish TV channel. whose live feed from the street in Doha was interrupted by security personnel who threatened to break camera equipment; while the leftist Danish newspaper Information announced that it was not covering the World Cup at all in protest of Qatar’s policies.

Eriksen’s return nonetheless remains one of the tournament’s most touching stories, less than 18 months after medics used a defibrillator to restart his heart as a frightened nation – and much of the football world – watched him lie lifeless on field in Parken. Stadium in Copenhagen.

This is the latest step in a remarkable comeback that has seen Eriksen already back in elite Premier League football, first with London club Brentford and then with Manchester United, showing that he is still among the best playmakers in the world. He returned to the national side in March, scoring a goal two minutes after coming on as a substitute in a 4-2 win against the Netherlands. He also scored from 25 yards against Croatia in the Nations League in September.

“He’s special,” Eriksen said. “From the first interview I gave, when I publicly stated that I wanted to get back into the game (to compete in the World Cup), that was my first goal.”

Inspired by Eriksen’s ordeal and how Kjær and others helped save him, the Danish team subsequently rallied as an even more cohesive group, and the team’s results raised expectations.

“We are dreaming of something big,” Eriksen said. “There was more faith in this squad and in the (media) fans when I came back (compared to) before.”

Tunisia has won just two World Cup victories, first against Mexico in 1978 and then against Panama four years ago in Russia.

But as fans from the country travel en masse to the first World Cup in the Middle East, coach Jalel Kadri has signaled he will step down if Tunisia fails to qualify for the playoffs. It’s not an easy task in Group D, which also includes defending champions France and Australia.

Tunisia is also counting on loud support from the Egyptians and Algerians.

“All Arab communities will support us,” said Tunisian striker Issam Jebali, who plays for Danish club Odense. “We hope to meet the expectations of every Arab country.”

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup as well as https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Andrew Dampf in https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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