I’ll be the first to admit that FIFA international dates are something that I don’t get excited about. It means either meaningless friendlies or semi-interesting football matches. These games fail to have the fever pitch excitement and build-up to games that we’re accustomed to experiencing each week in the Premier League. FIFA International Dates almost feel like a third-cousin. Someone you don’t know very well. You see him infrequently, so it takes time to become adjusted to him and it’s harder to get to know him.
So, here are five reasons why I dislike FIFA International Dates:
- They disrupt the domestic calendar. The momentum that was gained with the beginning of the 2010-11 Premier League has stopped. Now we have to wait until the international dates are over before we can “change gears” and begin to get excited again about the return of club football.
- The football isn’t as exciting. International football is nowhere near as exciting as it used to be. We’ve been spoilt by watching all-star teams with the best players from around the world play for Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and other teams. So when we watch international soccer, it just seems – for the most part – second rate.
- Too long and drawn out. England’s first game of the Euro 2012 game was last Friday when they beat Bulgaria 4-0. Assuming that England doesn’t need to go through a play-off, their campaign will end in October 2011. But we won’t know who the final 16 are for Euro 2012 until the play-off qualifiers end on November 15, 2011. And then the competition itself won’t begin until June 8, 2012. A competitive cycle, from start to finish, of almost two years is agonizingly long.
- Injuries. It never fails that there always seems to be a high-profile player who gets injured during the international break, which removes some of the appeal of the domestic leagues when players are either injured, tired or groggy.
- It’s harder for neutrals to relate. The beauty of the Premier League is that no matter where you live in the world, you don’t feel guilty cheering on a city that you have no connection to. A Chelsea supporter in Hong Kong or Santa Monica seems perfectly normal. But when it’s nations, it’s harder to relate because unless your country is playing, you’re automatically going to be less interested. It’s still soccer, so you can watch the game without reservations but it’s harder to get excited about it when it’s two countries you have little interest in.