Arsene Wenger has taken issue with Germany’s “political demonstrations” at the World Cup after they were knocked out of the competition at the group stages.
Before the World Cup started, several European clubs pledged to wear a One Love armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
This was seen as an important message, as homosexuality is still illegal in Qatar.
But days before the tournament started, FIFA revealed that captains who wore the armband would be booked as punishment.
The One Love armband was subsequently not worn but Germany’s players covered their mouths for their team photo in protest of FIFA’s decision before their tournament opener against Japan.
Germany ended up losing that game 2-1 and this eventually led to their exit at the group stages.
They went onto draw against Spain and beat Costa Rica but the four points they picked up were not enough to progress in the competition.
Arsenal legend Wenger has now suggested that Germany were not “mentally ready” for the competition as they were instead focused on “political demonstrations”.
“You know when you go to a World Cup, you know you can’t lose the first game. The teams who have the experience to perform in tournaments like France and England played well in the first game,” Wenger said (via The Evening Standard).
“The teams who were mentally ready, with a mindset to focus on competition, and not the political demonstrations.
“For the teams that have not been consistent visually, England is one of them.
“England was been absolutely outstanding in the first game, they struggled in the second game against the States and then they have back when needed to give a convincing performance against Wales.
“There have been big ups and downs. None of the big countries has been so disappointing.
“England has learned a lot. They have been in the last four of the World Cup, the last two of the Euros.
“Compared to Belgium which is past the peak, England looks to be a team that is now at the peak to deliver.”
“It has learned and is still a young team.”
Wenger went onto suggest that England are among the favourites to win the World Cup this year.
“Gareth Southgate is a very intelligent man, who is capable to analyse the games well and his own performances as a coach,” Wenger continued.
“He is like the team. He has learned from the World Cup and the European Championship and he is now in a good situation to deliver. If all goes as planned, the two favourites of England and France might meet.”
Jurgen Klinsmann added: “The England situation is very fascinating to all of us as we see a progression from Russia’s World Cup where they went into the last four and we thought they had it at the Euros where the last piece was missing.
“I am sure Gareth has only one goal and that’s to win it.”
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