By scheduling the 2020 World Cup in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, FIFA has caused many changes to the schedule. Freshly created by UEFA in 2018, the Nations League is logically affected by this change. As a reminder, this competition usually took place between the months of September and November. It is therefore impossible to keep the current calendar. Except that UEFA did not want to put its competition on hold. Barely out of an already very busy season, the players concerned must string together a series of matches in a very short period of time.
Divided into two parts (from June 1 to 14 and from September 21 to 26), the group stage promises to be intense, especially in June. Take the example of Karim Benzema, who just played in the Champions League final last Saturday. The Real Madrid striker has played 53 games this season, in all competitions (he missed the last French rally, however), before joining the France team. Blues who will play four matches in ten days (June 3, 6, 10 and 13)! A frantic pace which obviously concerns the players of the other selections involved in the competition. And yesterday, two internationals, and not the least, publicly complained about UEFA’s choice to maintain this insane schedule. Starting with Kevin De Bruyne.
Players ask for rest
“For me, the Nations League is not important. We have to play these matches, but it looks like a friendlies campaign. We have nothing to say about it. In 12 months, we have 3 weeks of vacation. Outsiders don’t understand how a player feels after a season. But they don’t have to, because it won’t change anything. It’s not even worth mentioning, nothing will change anyway”he said a few days ago, before putting on a layer. “After such a difficult season, and a week without training or matches, the body is in full decompression. Then playing four matches in ten days is looking for trouble. The body needs a real rest period. But I did not ask the coach to be spared. If I have to play these four matches, I will play them. I also played from Atlético Madrid with an open foot injury that had to be stitched up. Sometimes you have to sacrifice some things. »
A speech to which adheres another heavyweight of the football scene, Virgil van Dijk. “I’m going to give it my all once again. But I agree with what Kevin De Bruyne said about those Nations League games. I think it’s strange that there are still four international matches. There is more chance of injury now. The players should have a say, I think, but again, we have no say”, said the rock of Liverpool in a press conference. Finally, the same story with an exhausted Bernardo Silva at the end of the Spain-Portugal clash. “It’s very hard for the players in a season where we’ve played sixty games, to come here and play four more. A lot of people talk about that, too many matches with, in the end, several injuries. We’re going to start the new season in a month and for sure we won’t be 100% prepared.”he said, in comments relayed by RMC Sports. But that doesn’t seem to prevent Aleksander Ceferin from sleeping well at night…