Morning all.

England kick their Qatar World Cup campaign off today. On paper, Gareth Southgate’s team should beat Iran but you never know in this game. I’m English so of course I want England to go all the way to the final and win it but just like so many other footballing fans I’m sure, I’d rather England had said no to taking part.

England will take the knee before kickoff as Gareth Southgate has confirmed:

We have discussed taking the knee. We feel we should. It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time. Of course, we understand in the Premier League that clubs have decided to only do that for certain games, big occasions, we feel this is the biggest. We think it is a strong statement to go around the world for young people in particular to see that inclusivity is very important.

I’m not so sure it’s that big a statement anymore, possibly because it’s been going on for so long. A bigger statement, in my opinion, the right statement, would have been to say no to participating in a competition on the day it was announced Qatar we’re going be the hosts. I use the word ‘hosts’ very lightly.

Captain Harry Kane will not be wearing the ‘One Love’ armband throughout the competition. FIFA objected to the plan and after reports which suggested Kane would be booked before a ball has been kicked if, or face further disciplinary action, the FA have this morning confirmed that FIFA have won this battle. Sky Sports reported that FIFA has launched its own armbands on Saturday with messages such as “Football Unites the World” and “Save The Planet” but none incorporate a rainbow design. But it’s acceptable to ‘take the knee’?

As said the other day in relation to the consumption of alcohol at stadiums, these are things which should have been sorted out a long long time ago and not the weekend when the tournament kicks off. FIFA really are hopeless from top to bottom.

Arsenal have Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka away with England although, I think only one of them is likely to feature a lot over the next few weeks and that’s Saka. I think the keeper order is Pickford, Pope and than Ramsdale and it seems White is Southgate’s third choice right back too, unless he’s seen as being a better option than Maguire and/or Stones. No, I don’t think so either but all it takes is an injury and he’s in.

Also playing today is Aaron Ramsey as Wales take part in the World Cup for the first time in many years. They’re up against the USA so there’s a chance Matt Turner could be involved.

Enjoy the football if you’re planning to watch….