Are midweek International friendlies a nuisance or a benefit?

by Tony Alvarez

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

By Laurie Fitzgerald

As England prepare to take on France at Wembley tonight, it will be one of 36 international matches taking place during midweek.

While this statistic will go unnoticed by many, it demonstrates that there will be many top-flight players, not only from the Premier League but also all over Europe, that will have to fly all over the world and then get back to their clubs in time for a game at the weekend.

This of course leads to many people questioning; why is there the need for midweek international friendlies?

The travelling that the players undergo to represent their countries causes large disruptions to many clubs. It leaves them with roughly one or two days to prepare for their next game – hardly adequate preparation considering that many of them will have had to have spent the past few days clocking up the air miles.

Not only that, but there is also the danger of a key player picking up an injury while on international duty, leaving management and fans hugely frustrated at seeing one of their players injured while playing in a game that they didn’t need to.

Then there is the other side of the argument; International friendlies give national managers the opportunity to get the players together again, enhancing the team spirit as well as giving the players the chance to play alongside one another against meaningful opposition.

Not only that, they will have the chance to play teams that are similar to those within their Euro 2012 qualification groups, or for next year’s Copa America.

It also gives coaches such as Fabio Capello and Craig Levein the chance to see if there are any other players that can force their way into the national squad reckoning, any in-form players or youngsters that are able to make the step-up to international football.

Surely in an argument like this, there needs to be a compromise. Some common sense to hopefully prevail.

The next set of Euro 2012 qualifying games takes place in March, and while there is the logic for the players meeting up to reacquaint themselves with one another, is there really a desperate need to play a friendly in preparation for a qualifier that is four months away? Especially when they all played together just a month ago.

Having a national training squad between the Monday and Tuesday would surely make more sense. While there is still the danger of injuries, the risk is not as great as what it would be if they played in an International match. They are still able to play together and gain a reminder of each other’s game.

It will also give them the chance to get back to their clubs quicker and more time to prepare for their next game, leaving them in a fresher state for their respective matches at the weekend.

While this may not be the complete solution (players still have to travel) it would not hurt FIFA or UEFA to look into finding a way around games that fans will not take very seriously, as well as giving players a reason to justify flying halfway round the world.

Leave a comment and let me and other football lovers know what you think.

 Please read the comments from other fans and see if you agree with their points.

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  • Mystical Mike

    A god dam pain in the ars.

    Arsenal always end up with the longest injury list post friendly matches.

    Chelsea somehow always manage to fake an injury, surprisingly enough, those very same players will be fit enough to play the following Saturday

  • Dexylongshot

    Unlike many hammers. I spoke to Micky marbles earlier and said we’ll lose 2.1, sadly I didn’t have a punt. Fab will prob get an hiding in the press but I’m glad he went with plenty of youngsters, this friendly was a perfect opportunity to blood the younger lions. On paper and on the pitch France were the better team who have finally got a very good manager. They were better end of but I doubt if we had a couple of our more experienced heads it would have been so easy. Well done to the debutante. On the neg side, I’m losing patience with Lescott and Barry. I think foster looked a bit nervous as well.

  • Tony Alvarez

    If you would take a look on I have written an article of what I personally think England’s failings were have a look and leave your views

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