Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Anybody else dislike pointless internationals?

David Nugent in Editorial, General Soccer News 13 Nov 2015

Roy Hodgson will manage England against Spain this evening is just one of the many friendlies taking place in the next week or so

Roy Hodgson will manage England against Spain in just one of the many international  friendlies taking place in the next week or so

Is it just me or is there anybody else out there that dislikes pointless international matches?

It is nearly two weeks without Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A action among others.

Instead in Europe we have friendlies that mean not very much to anybody. Games that consist of teams playing under-strength teams and making the maximum substitutions allowed.

Some would argue that these give managers a chance to experiment, but in truth with nobody really at their most competitive what does bosses really learn about their available options, for me very little.

My fantasy team will be feeling rather neglected by the time the Premier League restarts next weekend.

An injury waiting to happen

The international break must be a nightmare for club bosses, because their star players are playing sometimes pointless games, yet run the gauntlet of injury.

Manchester City were particularly hardly hit during the previous international break. The Citizens may have more money than the royal mint, but still miss star players when they are injured.

The loss of star pair David Silva and Sergio Aguero during the last international break has turned out to be more of an inconvenience than a disaster, but it could have cost City dearly though. Both players are nearing a return to fitness, but injuries gained on international duty no doubt cost other teams badly.

Club bosses must be holding their breath waiting for their star players to return from international duty, hoping that they have not picked-up any injuries or knocks. Clubs pay the players wages, yet they are often put at risk by their national sides.

Qualifiers needed

I accept that international breaks are needed for qualifiers, just like the ones last month in Europe for the European Championships, or the play-offs that are happening over the next few weeks.

World Cup qualifiers are also taking place in South America during the current international break, so the break is not completely pointless. However, all these qualification campaigns could be made far simpler by pre-qualifiers.

Any regular readers of my editorial will know my feelings about pre-qualifiers. They would cut down the amount of qualification games on every continent, meaning fewer games for every country involved and less chance of players picking up injuries.

I find it frustrating watching big European teams hammering smaller nations, as they should not really be on the same pitch. If there were pre-qualifiers, then any of the lower ranked teams would have to earn the right to be in the group stages. That’s not me being elitist, just realistic.

Some nations are regular whipping boys in the group stages and it must be demoralising for the likes of San Marino and Gibraltar to be hammered nearly every time they take to the pitch.

Maybe if they developed their games against teams of a similar ilk first and then played the big teams they would progress. There is also the risk of the semi-professional footballer making a potentially injury-threatening injury.

I like international football

Do not get me wrong I get as excited as anybody at international football, but only when it has a purpose. I like to think of myself as a passionate England fan, but friendly games and games against the minnows just leave me cold.

England face European giants Spain this evening in Alicante, which should be a lot more entertaining than previous friendly games the Three Lions have been involved in recent times. However, even a game against the former world champions cannot compete with club football, because both sets of players will be holding back in case they sustain injuries.

The return of club football could not come quickly enough. Let’s just hope that none of the players involved in international games this week sustain any injuries.

Anybody else dislike pointless internationals?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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