International friendlies: success or failure?
- Updated: 14th January 2020
Recently, the top football leagues in the world stopped its activities due to the international friendlies and competitions involving the national teams. The question is: is it worth it to organize these kinds of events? Is there still interest from the public?
International friendlies: success or failure?
The European schedule weakened the rest of the world. I don’t think it is a mistake, but what happened was literally a European union of national teams, which ended up weakening the schedule of the nations that aren’t from the “old continent”.
On the topic of national teams, the World Cup is the biggest event on the planet, and it is also the biggest footballing competition.
With that said, we move away from the World Cup, which is the competition with the most public, sponsors and audience, and we will speak about the EURO 2020.
The EURO qualifiers that have been taking place on the latest international breaks end up concentrating most of the of the attentions of the European national teams.
That is the stage where the biggest teams end up focusing solely on this competition, and they aren’t very willing to play friendlies against nations from other continents.
Previously to this period, the European national teams reached an agreement and promoted the UEFA Nations League.
That’s a competition that looked to offer more competitiveness to the international breaks and the European nations
abandoned the uninteresting friendlies for the most part, for a competition that would stimulate competitiveness once again.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the UEFA Nations League was an immediate success, even due to the way some of the teams approached some of their matches, with a good number of changes on their starting line-up.
However, it is an attempt to become more attractive to the public, putting great teams in competition and put aside the protocol matches that we see in most of the international friendlies.
That measure weakened even more the international breaks in the rest of the world and strengthened the competitions promoted by UEFA.
Weak and boring matches: The reality of the best national teams in the world
The Brazilian national team is the biggest example of this negative phenomenon that has been affecting the international friendlies. The big problem in this case was the sale of the TV rights of their matches to a third-party company.
The result of that are poor matches, against uninteresting opponents for the general public, and played in locations that aren’t the biggest centers of world football.
A recent fiasco regarding this situation was the match played between Brazil and South Korea, in Abu Dhabi.
The scenario was a match that although was more exciting than on the latest displays, was very uninteresting from the public, with an empty stadium and close to no excitement.
Be it Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay (to name the biggest South American teams), they all survive on local derbies, without any great clashes against the best national teams in the world.
The exception was Argentina, that recently managed to play a friendly against Germany.
Besides that, they basically play against other Latin American teams or some African/Asian national sides, that don’t draw a lot of attention from the general public of their own countries or motivation for them to follow their representatives.
Another negative aspect of this current scenario is the total lack of connection with their domestic crowd.
These days, friendlies of this level are played in alternative countries, with the nations looking to “expand their fanbase”, but maybe the right way to put it would be “to get more money” from other nations that are willing to pay to host them.
There are no more matches in Argentina, Brazil, etc.
There is no longer the encouragement of bringing the fan to the stadium to cheer for its own national team.
In most cases, the fans watch the matches on the television, with the encounters taking place in the other side of the world for a crowd that isn’t even passionate about those teams.
Right now, we have very few players that truly identify themselves with their own country. Not many players are idols in a club of their domestic country and they simply boast about the fact that they were “raised” in a certain club.
Brasil vence a Coreia do Sul por 3 a 0 e encerra sequência de cinco jogos sem vitória. Gols de Danilo, Coutinho e Lucas Paquetá. #Brasil #seleção #seleçãobrasileira #CBF #amistoso #futebol #FutebolRC pic.twitter.com/UctEC1zzZ5
— Rede Contínua (@redecontinua) November 19, 2019
We see the public being abandoned more and more, especially in South America, due to these simply boring events that don’t prioritize their nations.
The match played in Abu Dhabi between Brazil and South Korea was a failure in terms of public in the stands and also in terms of audience in Brazil. In Brazil, the match was broadcasted at 10:30 in the morning on a Tuesday, where most of the people are at work or in school.
These types of matches aren’t made for the fans, and that has really been upsetting for all of us.
The Europeans did much better in trying to strengthen their product and tightening the bonds with their target audience. For the rest of nations, the future is grim, poor and boring.