For any football fans following Europe’s top leagues, the international break usually means one of 3 things:
1. Jamie Vardy, who you finally put in your fantasy team, will roll his ankle and be out for 6 months.
2. Your club will sack the manager and attempt reshuffle the entire backroom staff in a week, expecting immediate results.
3. Someone is going to put a voodoo on Alexis Sanchez affecting only his club form.
Already the third international break this season, fans are becoming a little bit restless about the wait time between games, because midweek Champions League and Domestic Cup matches apparently aren’t enough. However, Aussie fans are looking at the international break the wrong way.
I mean, here’s a thought… Show some national pride! It’s not been 12 months since Australia won the Asian Cup and is now fighting for World Cup qualification and you’re more concerned about having to wait an extra week to see Watford v Manchester United?
We live in one of the most important eras of Australian football as the sport is finally gaining traction in a hyper-competitive market. Continued success could one day see Australia competing as a world heavyweight in the sport, finally matching South American and European giants like Argentina, Spain and Germany (ambitious, I know, but why shouldn’t we be?).
This success can’t be achieved on the pitch though. Just like any club team, the Socceroos’ funding, development and sponsorship is dependent on the level of engagement from the national following. It’s ultimately up to us to drive the rise of our national squad and that’s the beautiful thing about sport.
Australia play Kyrgyzstan in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday night and it is on free-to-air television, so really there’s no excuse for Aussies to shrug it off as ‘just another international break.’ It’s a wonderful chance for fans to check up on our overseas superstars and assess their progress. Is Jason Davidson better off at Huddersfield? Has Luke Brattan touched a ball in 3 months?
Aussies should be more excited about seeing Australia’s elite playing together. If the idea of Massimo Luongo, Tommy Rogic and Aaron Mooy on the same pitch doesn’t send tingles up your spine, you haven’t been playing close enough attention.
Oh by the way, the A-league is still on this weekend, so get off the couch and go see some good, live football. You might actually enjoy it!