There was an international break last week but now we’re back to Premier League action and we can all wake up again.
International football is so boring. Seriously.
My first recollection of football of any kind was the 1986 World Cup (yes, I am that old!). I was mesmerised by the passion showed by the players of every country that participated, especially after THAT moment in the quarter final. The English team played their socks off and genuinely looked like they wanted to harm somebody after the Maradona ‘goal’. It was awesome!
The following World Cup was even better. I was older and had been paying attention to football a lot more in the 4 years between the 2 tournaments, even choosing my team to support (more on that in another blog). I was aware of the players on the England team as well as the other major nations and was looking forward to Italy 1990 more than anything at the time. Again, the tournament didn’t disappoint. England played with guile and passion, reaching the semi-final, pushing West Germany all of the way. Who can forget the tears of Gazza when he recieved his yellow card? The tears of Stuart Pearce after missing his penalty, these guys were distraught. The agony was etched in their faces after failing so close to the end. The nation shared their grief but they were heroes and we loved them.
And that is the problem. Fans of my age are going to compare the international players of today to the late 80’s/early 90’s generation of Gazza, Pearce, Butcher, Lineker etc. And yes, the talent is there but the passion is not. In this day and age of football being money, money, money the raw excitement of representing your country seems to have disappeared. The main talking points during an international fixture are about Mourinho having the hump that one of his players has been called up or that Wenger has insisted that one of his players only plays 45 minutes.
Could you imagine Arsene trying to tell Bobby Robson that Kenny Sansom could only play until half-time? Or anyone for that matter telling Stuart Pearce that they didn’t want him to accept his call up? Of course not! But now it’s all about money and players are a commodity that has to be protected. Football clubs wrap them up in cotton wool and players allow them to, removing all of the actual pride in playing for their country.
I’m sure there still are players that love to pull on the 3 Lions but by and large the majority of the team don’t seem to. Until that attitude changes in my eyes, international football is largely irrelevant and a waste of my time watching it. I want that feeling I had in 1990 again!