Saturday, 14 October 2017

International football: The maligned sibling

The "club vs country" debate rages on, and nobody sides with "club" more strongly than England fans disconnected from their national team and millions of Fantasy Premier League managers who played their hands early in the international break. Predictably, the period ended with a long list of crocks including big names like Mustafi and Kante, leaving a large number of folks less than pleased.

Lukas Podolski, German forward
Podolski recovering from a nightmare that he and Klose only played club football

However, the format is unique and compelling in its own way, providing the opportunity for fans of a country to unite and watch players motivated for a different cause. This is a playing field disconnected from the riches and royalty of top-level European football which brings forth a very different meaning and emotion. You cannot just buy players into a national team, and you cannot just "go again next year". You have to make it count with the players you have, and when an opportunity comes once in 4 years, every game matters.

Here are four of the most incredible moments from FIFA World Cup qualifiers played over the past couple of weeks.

Iceland became the least-populated nation to ever make the World Cup


Panama qualify for their first ever World Cup


Argentina jump 3 places with a final day away win to qualify



Egypt reach their first World Cup in nearly 3 decades


Try telling these people that international football should take a back seat!