People now view international football as subordinate to the ever glamorous club game. Though the quality of club football far exceeds international football, it is still great in ways that are unmatched. Here’s a couple reasons as to why –
Firstly the club game lacks anything close to resembling to brilliance that is the World Cup. It would be simply ridiculous to argue the Champions League comes close. Sure the Champions League has greater competition and players, especially in the knockout stages. Nonetheless, the vibrancy, excitement and anticipation the World Cup season provides is simply amazing. After the final you can’t help but count down the 4 years. It’s produced an array of famous moments etched into football history such as the Hand of God or the Zidane head butt on Materazzi. Even the most privileged youngsters will get 3-5 World Cups in their career! It truly is the blue ribbon event of football.
Along with this the fact these players are obliged to play for one nation in the senior team by Fifa is a stark contrast to the club game. With hugely inflated transfer fees such as the €100,000,000 for Gareth Bale or €50,000,000 for David Luiz as well as the constant movement of players, its great having some stability. Diego Costa can’t switch his allegiance from Spain now and must stick to it. Too many times we see players make regrettable moves in which they simply move again the following season. Also it’s great to see the players going back to the basis of the game – not playing for the wages, but for the fans and the love of the game. These players are playing for something bigger than themselves and their egos.
As well as this, it’s even more interesting for the fans as we witness the managers having to name their squads and constantly experiment. Club managers have the blessing of overseeing their squad and players almost every day, this naturally builds cohesion and rapport. Maradona tried accommodating individuals but it simply doesn’t work at this level.
Managers must decide which players they must sacrifice in order to have greater cohesion because this is ultimately the most important thing in international football. For instance 7 Barcelona players’ features in Spain’s World Cup triumph against the Netherlands. Del Bosque is famous for bringing players who provide characters which leads to a more unified dressing room.
Moreover, as stated before international football represents something pure – football before the focus was on finance etc. Rivalries too can be more intense in international football and some date back to before the inception of football itself. The back stories behind these tend to be far less shallow and fickle as far are many club rivalries are concerned. These rivalries bring the best out of their respective players and fans that will do anything to not see their nation lose. A Croatia v Serbia, Germany v Netherlands or Russia v one of the former Soviet nations always produces tense matches; animosity between them goes far beyond merely football so there is far more at stake.
Lastly, there’s nothing better than seeing a whole nation unite and fans put aside club differences to support their nation’s players even if it is only for 90 minutes. Others might complain, but I love it when casual fans bite their nails and nervously sway in their seat simply because that’s what football is all about. So with that, I’ll leave you with Brazil before the 2013 Confederation Cup final. Ah yes, the World Cup is near again!!!