It seems in a time when the majority of countries around the world have restrictions and lockdowns that football authorities would use some common sense. However, it seems common sense is in short supply amongst those who run world football. Greed and stubbornness have led to the mess that is a November international break in a pandemic.
This international break comprises of pointless friendly matches, games in the Nations League and of course Euro 2021 qualifiers. You can understand playing the latter, but the others could easily have been cancelled.
Bigger bubbles due to international football
Many walks of life have formed bubbles to protect health and well-being and to avoid unnecessary contact with too many people. This is to prevent the virus from spreading and infecting more people. The fact that players go into different bubbles whilst on international duty complicates things, as although regularly tested, they are mixing with even more people than they would if at their club.
This means the chances of becoming infected are increased. Less mixing means the lesser chance of infection, which seems obvious to most people. That is why so many people cannot make sense of the latest international break.
Extra games for the players
This season is already going to be one of the toughest on players ever. This is because of the number of competitive games that will be crammed into a schedule that is close to bursting. The fact that some national teams will play three games in the next two weeks is simply ludicrous. This wouldn’t usually be as big an issue in normal circumstances. However, many international players have not had much of a pre-season. Since the European seasons have restarted it has been constant football, so there has been no rest bite for the players.
They may be well-conditioned athletes, but they are only human. Already this season we have seen the number of muscle injuries increase and that will only get worse as the season goes on. More games mean more strain on the body and the greater chance of injury.
One example of a player who suffered an injury on international duty is Liverpool defender Joe Gomez. The centre-back sustained a knee injury while training with England on Wednesday. His club has confirmed that he could miss a chunk of this seasons Premier League campaign. There is an argument that this injury could have happened if he had been training with Liverpool.
Nevertheless, maybe the amount of football played has affected an already injury-plagued Gomez. The injury leaves the reigning English champions short of defensive options.
There was also an incident recently with Croatia captain Domagoj Vida, who tested positive for COVID-19 at half-time of his team’s 3-3 draw with Turkey. The whole Croatian squad took tests and produced negative results on Monday. However, they retook tests on Wednesday, but Vida’s result did not arrive until half-time in the game. He will now self-isolate.
However, the biggest COVID-19 related farce of the week was arguably Wednesday’s friendly between Denmark and Sweden friendly. The match saw 20 Denmark players unable to take part in the game, while Sweden were without six of their players. That is not to mention that neither head coach Kasper Hjulmand nor Swedish counterpart Janne Andersson could attend the game. Who benefitted from the game being played at all? Hazarding a guess it would only be the respective FA’s.
There is likely to be more problems
We are not yet halfway through the international break. We are sure to see more problems relating to players picking up injuries and even the virus while away from their clubs. Of course, there are still many international games this and next week, whether we like it or not. If you are looking for tips and previews, then you may want to visit our betting page for the bookmakers we recommend for your wagers.
Do you believe that there should be international football under the current restrictions?