Arsenal’s 2010 World Cup – Controversy rules but two Gunners get to the Final

10 Gunners went to South Africa, none representing England. The irony being that Theo Walcott deserved to be at the 2010 World Cup far more than the one 4 years earlier.

Apart from two who would contest the Final a lot of our players made the headlines for the wrong reason.

Alex Song was part of a Cameroon squad who went on strike against their FA in the build-up due to a pay dispute and lack of organisation. Not surprisingly, given that backlash, they were the first nation to be officially eliminated, although Song did have a special moment when he got to share the pitch with his uncle.

No row was publicly played out more than the disastrous France camp, so controversial their president demanded to meet captain Thierry Henry for an explanation.

Issues seemed to stem from Domenech’s failure to transition from the old guard and introduce the next generation.

Stories included senior players telling youngsters they couldn’t sit in designated seats.

There was a divide between Patrice Evra and William Gallas’ cliques over who should replace Henry as skipper. Our defender believed he had been promised the role and felt betrayed when that didn’t transpire.

Watching how he handled the Arsenal armband, why he thought he had the leadership qualities to lead his country was a mystery.

Yet after the whole squad refused to train in protest due to Anelka being sent home, Gallas was one of the few senior pros trusted to play in their final group fixture. He, Sagna and Diaby were only a few who started all three matches for Les Blues.

Van Persie and Fabregas were having far more fun in Africa.

The striker started every tie as Holland got to the final while Fabregas came off the bench in every Spain game.

Spain vs Holland will always be remembered for the Dutch’s approach, as they tried to bully and kick the Spanish off the pitch.

Given his education under Arsene Wenger it’s hard to believe Van Persie would have agreed with the Netherlands approach.

Fabregas had a far bigger contribution, coming on as a sub and setting up Iniesta’s extra time winner.

At their trophy parade back in Madrid his team-mates thought it be a good idea to force him to wear a Barcelona shirt, a club he was being linked with a return to.

At the club since the age of 15, Arsenal deserved more respect for giving the midfielder the platform where he could play on such a stage.

Given that he was our captain at the time, we deserved better…

Dan Smith

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