So here we go again. It’s that time of the year when instead of getting your fantasy team ready for some Premier League action in the weekend, you’re forced to be a couch potato and tolerate a three-hour movie ‘alone’- because football is your life, remember? - which gives you a general feeling of dissatisfaction ending in a very specific want to hurl an abuse or two at FIFA.
If you do not prefer that, you probably end up awkwardly socialising at a pub with one side of your brain thinking how your team will line up next week. Yes, folks, it’s time for the schedule-ruiner ‘cause the international break is here.
The international break is the most unloved and ignored football event there is. In truth, nobody really cares about it. With just three matches into the season and after a very exciting transfer deadline day, every fan would want their teams to get going and put in some wins behind them. However, they are restricted in trying to stream the random mickey mouse friendly where England play a certain Gibraltar or San Marino (Not that they deserve any better).
But why do we hate these mid-season interruptions so much? There is, of course, a couple of World Cup or Continental qualifying games up for grabs, but they never really succeed in living up to the thrill offered by a certain El Clasico or a Merseyside Derby, or even an Arsenal away trip to Stoke, for that matter.
There are two types of fans around the world. Those who hate international breaks, and those who really hate international breaks. We’re the latter and we try to explain why :
#1 The injuries
The greatest curse of having mid-season friendlies are the injuries players sustain while on national duty. Imagine Shkodran Mustafi, who’s been Arsenal’s marquee signing of the summer, getting injured in a certain friendly against Finland leaving the Gunners fans going nuts over how he may not be available for their next match. Now stop imagining because that’s already happened a few days ago and might actually miss their clash against Southampton.
Managers and fans hold their breath during international breaks hoping that their most important players don’t pick up injuries which seem to occur too often putting into question the need for risking players in these friendlies.
Agreed, that one cannot feel more proud than representing one’s nation, but clubs who pay astronomical wages for them to play week in and week out simply do not want to lose someone injured on national duty. After all, we’re more loyal to our clubs, aren’t we? And that is why we hate international friendlies so much.