6 Awesome Things About This International Break
FIFA’s international breaks can be full of thrilling competition between the world’s best. This break will see some of the most intense matches outside of a major competition you’ll ever see in the UEFA and intercontinental playoffs to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
But there’s also the downside: no club football, lots of travel for players and increased chance for injuries. Plus, during the international break, there’s no Champions League, no Jose Mourinho antics, no Real Madrid beef, no Bundesliga timers, no fascinating Serie A.
Twitter: How are you handling the International Break?
Me: Not good. Not good. pic.twitter.com/mGoIsP1vIo
— Premier League USA (@PLinUSA) November 7, 2017
But fret not, dear soccer fan. Here are five good things about this international break.
Fantasy sports are hard. You have to check up on it at least once every week. Who has time for that?
Every once in a while, you’re probably going to forget to set your lineup three times a month. But when you forget this week, it doesn’t matter because there are no games to worry about. How great is that?
Chances are, if you’re a decent human being, you’ve already finished watching Stranger Things 2. Maybe you’ve even watched Beyond Stranger Things to get some behind-the-scenes info. If you’re a really good human, you’ve already taken this quiz to determine which character you are based on your soccer fandom.
But chances are just as good that you’re not a decent human being, in which case you better get the Netflix out and finish Stranger Things 2 before everyone spoils the fact that Eleven is actually a Demogorgon wearing a Halloween costume. There isn’t too much soccer to watch this weekend, so finish the damn show already.
Unless your favorite club is Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid or PSG, chances are good that you will be disappointed in how your team performs more often than not. Fortunately, this weekend you won’t have to be frustrated by your team’s performance.
Arsenal fans will especially be pleased to have an international break at this juncture. After suffering a 3-1 defeat to Man City on Sunday, the Gunners at least have a week off before playing rival Tottenham, which hasn’t lost to Arsenal in league play since 2014.
Sure there’s not another Der Klassiker this weekend, but there is a game worth watching in Germany on Friday. The NCAA basketball season tips off on Friday with No. 11 West Virginia playing No. 25 Texas A&M at Ramstein Air Force Base in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany.
The college basketball season begins in earnest this and if you want to win your office bracket pool come March (well, April), you should start paying attention now. And without club soccer to worry about and only a handful of meaningful international matches, you have no excuse to start studying up on bracketology.
To sleep, perchance to dream . . .
Every once in a while, Americans need sleep. The international break is the perfect time to sleep in for a change with no Bundesliga or Premier League matches to force you awake at ungodly hours because that one extra hour from daylight savings time didn’t do you much good.
With the exception of the second leg of the Australia-Honduras playoff and a few Africa qualifiers, all the soccer matches worth watching are at reasonable hours for those in the U.S.
As we’ve pointed out there are plenty of things to do during this international break that don’t involve soccer, but you should totally still watch the soccer. In addition to the final matches of African World Cup qualifying, there are going to be some incredibly high-stakes matches in the UEFA and intercontinental playoffs.
Can Ireland get back to the World Cup? Will Italy be upset but the Zlatan-less Swedes? Is Northern Ireland really a separate country from Ireland? All these questions and more will be answered this weekend.
The World Cup 2018 field is nearly set and by Nov. 15 we’ll know who all 32 teams competing in Russia will be after the final nine spots are filled in this week.