If you’ve played enough of the FIFA video game series with friends, then you’re probably familiar with randomizing the teams before a game. Sometimes you’ll get a strange matchup where one player gets a national team and the other gets a club.
That would never happen in real life, right?
Friday will see a situation just like that as the Argentina national team announced it will play a friendly against Primera División leaders River Plate. The game is part of a national celebration for Argentina’s triumph in Qatar.
Argentina will play a friendly match vs. River Plate on Friday. It will be for the players who would not have played against Panama on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/MDcybbmh7A— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 22, 2023
The fun ends there unfortunately. The game is being played behind closed doors at the Argentine Football Association. Both River Plate and Argentina will only be fielding players that don’t feature in other games that week.
Argentina hosts Panama on Thursday night. Lionel Messi is certain to play in that game as he’s eyeing to score his 800th career goal for club and country. This means Messi wouldn’t feature in the friendly against River.
River Plate will also field a less than 100% strength squad as the club has a friendly on Saturday vs. Universidad de Chile.
National teams and clubs rarely play each other, but there have been a handful of instances in the past. Last year the United States men’s national team faced off against Qatari club Al-Gharafa as preparation for the World Cup.
One notable matchup is the time when Bayern Munich hosted the Netherlands in 2012. Bayern won the game 3-2.
The reason the two played was an agreement made after the Dutch had overused Arjen Robben during the 2010 World Cup aggravating a hamstring injury. To make up for the lost money and play time the two scheduled a friendly at Allianz Arena.
It wasn’t all that friendly as Robben played for the Netherlands and was booed by some of his own Bayern fans.
Now if you want to talk about a seriously unfriendly friendly then check out what happened when Queens Park Rangers and China played against each other in 2007.
The game was called off halfway through and one player had his jaw broken.
Other examples of countries playing clubs include Brazil and Barcelona drawing 2-2 in 1999 and Japan beating the brakes off Tottenham 4-0 in 1991.