International breaks are a drag for football lovers. It breaks the momentum of two-three club games a games and sends the club football on a two week hiatus. It can be especially tough for supporters whose teams go into the break in poor form. It makes their bad situation worse with pundits holding nothing behind.
But there is a small group of football fanatics who wait for the International break to see top quality matches. For Asian football supporters, it means they can see their teams fight it out against the mighty teams from Europe, Africa and South America. It brings the football lovers together, seeing their favorite club footballers landing on their shores to battle with their national team.
And it turned out to be a pretty good International break for Asian countries. On Friday, the 22nd of March, Japan took on Colombia at the Yokohama International stadium. It was a closely contested, extremely entertaining affair with Radamel Falcao scoring the sole goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Colombia had brought a strong squad for the friendly, with the likes of James Rodriguez, Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Luis Muriel starting alongside their captain Radamel Falcao. It was a delightful game, one which showed just how close the Japanese football team is to the world class level of the Colombian team.
The same night saw South Korea, who had an absolutely amazing International break, take on Bolivia at the Munsu Football Stadium in South Korea. The Koreans started with the in-form duo of Dong-Won Ji and Son Heung-Min in attack and dominated their South American opponent throughout the game. In the end, Lee Chung-Yung scored the winner for an impressive result for the South Koreans.
On Monday, 25th March, Saudi Arabia took on Equitorial Guinea, beating the Central African side 3-2 in an entertaining affair. The game saw an incredible 4 penalty awarded with the Nigerian born Saudi Arabian player Abdulfateh Adam scoring the solitary goal from open play.
But the best day of the International break was on Tuesday, 26th March. Shoya Nakajima scored the winner for Japan as they ousted Bolivia 1-0 at the Yokohoma International Stadium. In the other fixture of the day, South Korea came on top of Colombia, with Son Heung-Min and Lee Jae-Sung scoring the goals.
it was a big big victory for South Korea, who had also defeated Germany at the FIFA World Cup 9 months ago. The victory capped off a hugely impressive International break for Asian countries, with Uzbekistan and Thailand taking on Uruguay in the China Cup, giving them a really good exposure against some of the top talents of the South American country. Uruguay did rout the Uzbeks 3-0 and the Thais 4-0 though.
The big story for Indian fans though was that it was another International break without any International friendlies for the country. The lack of friendly games is a damning indication of the state of the country’s football federation (AIFF) and reflects poorly on the country.
This is damning given countries like Thailand, who were routed by India 4-1 in the AFC Asian Cup, taking on South American giants and World Cup quarterfinalists Uruguay, while our country sat in front of the TV watching other countries take on quality oppositions. Things need to change at AIFF and football needs to be taken more seriously by our country if they want to see us compete in the World Cup in the near future.