Friday, April 20, 2018

Does anybody like the international break?

One England fan enjoying a fascinating friendly game

This has been a bugbear of mine for years. The international break is the equivalent of cheating on your beautiful partner with a complete munter you met when you had one too many beers.

I love the Premier League, La Liga and to a certain extent the Bundesliga, so why do UEFA feel the need to spoil fans enjoyment of Europe’s top leagues by putting in an international break in late March.

All those European leagues are just reaching their climaxes. While the race for the titles in Germany and England may not be exhilarating, there is still plenty to play for in most of Europe’s top leagues.

Maybe the international break for me is made worse by the fact that England have been average for a long time now. The Three Lions next two games are unlikely to bring anything different.

Pointless friendly games

My national side England face Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday night in a friendly game. This game seems utterly pointless. Some will say these games are a testing ground for bosses to give their fringe players run outs.

However, these friendly games are nowhere near what tournament games would be like. Most European team’s field weakened teams, which just waters down the quality of the games.

The world champions will be without Julian Draxler, Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer and Mario Gomez through injury, so Joachim Low does not exactly have the chance to pick his first choice 11. Even if he did, would he risk playing them in a game that meant very little? It seems doubtful.

Pointless qualifying game

After the game against Germany, England host Lithuania in a pointless World Cup qualifier. The Three Lions have been handed a very comfortable group in qualifying, with the likes of Slovakia, Slovenia, Scotland, Malta and of course Sunday’s opponents Lithuania for company.

England are already top of the group and it seems highly unlikely they will not finish at the top of their group, because England are flat-track bullies that beat inferior opposition, only to fail to turn up against decent opposition in big tournaments.

Playing these qualifiers looks like a waste of everybody’s time. Meanwhile, world champions Germany travel to minnows Azerbaijan, where no doubt they will not even have to break into a sweat to record a victory.

The two games just underline the flaws in the qualification system. It’s only going to get worse, though, as FIFA seeks to enlarge every major international tournament. That means more mediocre teams make it the finals of big international tournaments.

The argument that the minnows will never get better if they don’t play these games is also flawed. What does Azerbaijan learn from being hammered by Germany? The logical solution would be to bring in pre-qualifiers, but all my pleas to FIFA have fallen on defeat ears.

I cannot wait for the European leagues to return

As an England fan, I have very little interest in the Three Lions game against Germany. Maybe it is too many years of watching mediocre football played by England that has made me cynical. As a writer, I will have to keep an eye on the game at least, as its part of my job.

However, if it was not part of my job and they were playing the friendly at the bottom of my garden I would shut my curtains. I may be described as a boring old git, but I am sure I am not the only person who finds these international breaks tedious.

The only interesting games of note this week come in the South American section of the qualifying, as Brazil face Uruguay and Argentina play Chile. Those seem like two potentially interesting clashes, so maybe my dislike is just for the UEFA and the fact they schedule pointless games at a key point in the season.

I for one cannot wait for the European leagues to return to action, as for me the international games taking place this week in Europe have very little purpose.

Does anybody like the international break?


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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I totally agree. And to schedule them at such a crucial point for most leagues baffles me

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