International Football fatigue - Why does it happen?
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International Football fatigue - Why does it happen?

26/03/24 07:18

As Football fans we all claim to love the sport in all its forms, no matter the level of quality. But for some reason the idea of stopping our season to watch the game be played on the international stage is no longer a part of that. It is odd that there is a growing sense of annoyance at international breaks, given how the excitement for international tournaments has never faltered and many football fans who will moan at the breaks will also be excited for the upcoming European Championship.

One reason is definitely the amount of friendlies that are played throughout international breaks. Finding out you can’t watch your club side for two weeks just so your nation can play two meaningless games feels like something is being taken away from you instead of given to you. We associate friendlies as games to keep players fitness levels high and maybe test tactical setups, but in the middle of the season when our leagues are hotting up, it feels like whiplash to go to a far slower less meaningful match which we know has no jeopardy attached to it. While some international breaks hold more importance due to tournament qualifiers, there is still a sense of frustration still due to the club season halting to a stop. So if the answer isn’t friendlies, what is it?

Another reason may be due to the fact that with many fans there is just more love and affiliation of their club side than their national team. This argument is explained by the fact that your national team is chosen for you, through family or where you are from, but your club side is your choice. It has close personal ties to each Football fan. The time spent following the club as well is a massive factor, the amount of dedication watching most matches over a span of years where every now and then it stops for your national team. It stunts the love of international football. When you go into an international break already on the backfoot, frustrated at the fact your country is even playing, it just forces confirmation bias. Anytime anything goes wrong for your country or the match is even just nil nil, it’s used as a complaint that international football is either a waste of time or gets in the way of the club season.

Finally, another reason may be more simple than the others. Is club football simply better than international football? Just in terms of the eye test, is club football a better watch? With players playing regularly together in their club sides, with managers who get a lot more time with them to develop a style of play, there is an argument that club football is more refined. This argument goes further when many believe that the job of managing an international side is easier than managing in club football. A good example would be Gareth Southgate, the most successful England manager since Alf Ramsay and yet he got Middlesborough relegated from the Premier League and was not a household name in management before taking on the England job. However, to counter that you could argue that Fabio Capello and his failure in managing the three lions shows it is not as easy as it looks.

Overall, it is undeniable that international breaks are never going to be universally welcomed despite their necessity. Will fans ever accept the fact that we need international breaks? With their fickle nature, the fans will never change.

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