The Pros and Cons of International Break

The international break is a concept that divides opinion throughout football. Club players break up to represent their respective nations in friendlies and qualifiers at the expense of league football. Here, we look at three pros and cons for everyone during the break.

PROS

GIVE INJURED PLAYERS TIME TO RECOVER

Over the course of a season, one of the things that managers fear most is a lengthy injury list. For the bosses coping with such a situation, the international break can come as a godsend as they look to build their squad back up to full strength.

Fans always want to see the best XI’s playing for each side, as that’s what football is all about.

Having two fully fit squads up against each other helps create a competitive edge as both teams know they would have ultimate bragging rights by beating the opposition at their strongest.

The break only lasts for a fortnight, and that won’t guarantee that players out with hamstring knocks or related injuries will return in time for the next game. But it allows managers to get their players ready without the pressures of a weekend game around the corner.

NATIONS HAVE TO QUALIFY AT SOME POINT

Imagine that midweek international breaks were scrapped and we decided to allow every association football team to qualify for the World Cup. It would be hectic, and would take about four or five months to complete the tournament.

Whether we as fans like it or not, without the international break, nations just don’t have the time to qualify for international tournaments.

The only available time to play qualifiers is in the Summers when league matches aren’t on, but players need to have a rest or risk being burnt out in time for the new season.

The only other alternative is to scratch international football altogether, but that would be madness.

Players see it as the utopia to play for their country at a major tournament, and taking that away from them would cause a riot amongst angry players.

THEY LIFT THE MOOD AMONG COUNTRIES

There is an entirely different feel between club football and international football amongst fans. Supporters that are split all throughout the season come together for one cause and generate a positive atmosphere throughout the nation.

It gives fans a relief from the cut-throat rivalry of club football and allows nations the opportunity to put a smile on the whole country’s face with a victory.

Look at how Wales celebrated qualifying for their first major tournament in Bosnia last October.

That’s just one example of how a nation’s spirits got lifted, as well as their interest in football as a whole.

CONS

FANS BECOME UNINTERESTED

Like it or not, the international break takes the sting out of football and drains many supporters of their interest in the sport.

Nowadays, if you go outside and ask English or Scottish football fans for example about how they feel ahead of their respective nations’ qualifying matches, many would shrug their shoulders and say that they’re not too bothered.

Conversations about football at work, on the bus, or in the pub start to drift away for the next two weeks before the domestic action begins.

It makes what would generally be considered “football countries”, lose their interest for a short period, and as football fans, nothing makes us sadder than that.

INTERNATIONAL INJURIES AND BURN OUT

Just as at the start, we touched on how the international break can help players already injured; the sad fact is it can work the other way also and players can get injured while on duty.

Managers in the past have been furious with their FAs for players returning to their clubs injured, as it takes away key assets to their squads despite no wrongdoing on their part.

As well as injuries, players are well known to return from international duty absolutely burnt out and tired. This can be down to long journeys for players who then have to be back just days after arriving, meaning they could be suffering from both jet lag and fatigue.

NOT ENOUGH FOOTBALL FOR FANS

One of the best things about club football is that there are four to five games on over the weekend that you can watch one after the other.

Fans love that quantity of games over the weekend, as it keeps them glued to the television watching the sport they love throughout the weekend.

As well as this, club football brings up many games that fans are interested in. Supporters enjoy seeing all of the results form their own league, as well as jumping over to see how other big teams in Europe are getting on.

International football on the other hand only really throws up your own nations’ game when it comes to what you’re interested in.

Of course, some may like to flick through how the superpowers of Germany and Spain are getting on. But it isn’t anywhere near the same as the overwhelming amount of fixtures on during club weekends.

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