Italian International Team: What to Expect Ahead of the Clash Against England
England and Italy were the protagonists of the last Euros final. But we are living in a very weird time in football history as well as in terms of the Italian selection.
Firstly, between the finals of the last Euros and the last FIFA World Cup, we had a lot less time than usual. For starters, Euro 2020 was played in 2021 due to the pandemic of covid19.
The final game at Wembley happened on July 11th, 2021, and the FIFA World Cup final of 2022, in spite of being played in the winter, happened last December.
The memory of the last Euros was a lot more vivid in the memory of the fans compared with the usual scenario.
Moreover, Italy is living in a weird time in its history. After missing the World Cup in 2018, they managed to win the Euros against England. A historical title, of immense difficulty due to the home factor advantage of The Three Lions.
And what happened next? They didn’t even manage to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! But what could explain such an imbalance when it comes to the shortcomings of the Italian side?
The excruciating schedule and calendars of modern football certainly come to mind. Back in 2012, when Italy lost the final game of the Euros against Spain, the injury of Thiago Motta right after being subbed in jeopardized immensely the chances of the Azzurri to lift that trophy, which ended up being a 4-0 loss.
Some footballers are choosing to retire early from the national teams. The fitness challenges are immense for players that are regulars in their clubs as well as national teams, especially those that compete in the Euros and The FIFA World Cup every other year.
Of course, the clubs have a structure that takes care of many details, including how much the players need to sleep, the tracking of that, as well as specially designed exercises and training sets to determine exactly how to build running endurance depending on the position of each player as well as their unique biological factors.
Early International Retirements and The Future of International Soccer
Every other year we are seeing more and more early retirements of international stars. Raphaël Varane, Sergio Busquets and Eden Hazard are a few examples of players that are still relevant and have many seasons ahead, and although Hazard is not living his best days, he’ll still get teams interested in him after leaving Real Madrid.
The problem with those early retirements is that they became a concept only very recently. In the recent past, some 10 to 15 years ago, players choosing to retire from the national team was a very new concept.
Normally the players would take pride in their international action, and to abandon the international team would sound like an army desertion, something almost shameful, as being called was seen as a major honor.
However, footballers may be well-trained and have the best fitness possible, but they’re human beings that enjoy a month of vacation a year, and having to play soccer even during the time that many teammates or profession colleagues are resting is just too much for many for them, at least too much to cope with when they approach or cross the mark of becoming 30.
The schedules and calendars of international football will probably need to be revamped soon, otherwise, we’ll only get to see young players in the international teams.
Toni Kroos is a major example of that. He’s still a key player of Real Madrid, and could have helped Germany have a better fate in the last World hadn’t he retired from die Mannschaft already.