Another international break causes fans of club football around the country to wonder what to do with themselves at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Wives and girlfriends across the land rejoice as there is nothing holding up their weekend plans, only to find out that there is still lower league football going on and many fans just choose to go and watch their local League Two team instead. While the break in top-flight club football is disappointing, the positive to come from it is the increase in exposure for lower level teams. This is their chance to get the majority of the attention and many of the players in the lower leagues manage to showcase their talents to a wider audience, while many fans enjoy watching a more down to earth version of the beautiful game. Another bonus is that at least we can’t lose this weekend, which is a nice change to the routine.
England become the 0-0 specialists
As England yet again avoid defeat to two major nations, pundits and journalists across the land get carried away with our chances at the World Cup next year. Yes, we drew with two of the major footballing nations, but they were only friendly matches and we’ve done the same plenty of times in the past before major tournaments. Anyone remember the 1-0 win over Portugal before Euro 2016? Look how that tournament ended up, England dumped out by Iceland and Portugal winning the trophy. While I would love to think that England have a chance, and it was promising to see some youth in action, I think a quarter-final appearance would mark good progress and we can build from there.
Italy fail to qualify
It was ‘apocalypse now’ in Italy as the national side failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958. The four-time winners will have to make do with watching it on the TV while on holiday, probably in a more tropical location than Russia, where they would have been going to had they qualified. Gianluigi Buffon has played his last international match, his tears after the final whistle showed how much football means to him and it will be sad when he finally hangs up his gloves.
Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all failed to qualify too, which is a shame but no need to worry, in 2026 the World Cup will expand to 48 teams, so it will be easier to qualify than to not.