What happened during the International Break?
All what you need to know before Leagues resume.
While the International break may not mean much to some big names in European football, it’s more than just a week of national teams playing against each other.
From November 11-22, all big leagues stopped to give a chance to national teams to resume the international qualification rounds in Europe, Africa and Asia. Only the Americas used the break for friendlies.
Big leagues’ fans often describe it the ‘the boring break’. But it’s a chance for fans on the ground around the world to support their national team and host some real time enthusiasm in their homes.
Who else can’t wait for international break to end 🙋🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/wwr9OmQBL2
— Football On Tap (@footballontap) November 14, 2019
The BBC Sports journalist, Marwan Qutb, says a lot of interesting things happen during the break: “International football means a lot for those who don’t have a premier league in their countries”.
In some countries around the world, national football could be a break from politics and a chance for fans to see their national stars who play in Europe: “We have seen in this break thousands of Iraqis in the main square in Baghdad watching their team grab a late winner over fierce rivals Iran that meant more than just a victory for them.
We saw Finland celebrate their first ever qualification to a big football tournament as they reach Euro 2020. In Africa, we saw the fans of the Comoros celebrate a draw against the most successful African nation in football by invading the pitch in Moroni” Qutb Added.
Here is a quick summary of the top things that happened during the break.
Twenty teams have confirmed their seats for Euro 2020 next summer. Only four seats are available for competition in the new plays-off system.
From the 49 national teams, Wales was the 20th to secure a spot by defeating Hungary 2-0. And Finland will play for the first time in Euro 2020.
After angrily leaving the pitch during Juventus’ last game, Christiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Lithuania and a very easy goal in Portugal’s 2:0 win against Luxembourg.
The 34-year-old superstar reached his 99th international goal, advancing his position as the second most international scorer in history and only 10 goals away from the all time scorer, the Iranian Ali Da’i.
The remaining four spots will be competed by 16 teams taking part in the play-off round in March. It is the last chance to win one of the remaining tickets to Euro 2020.
The 16 teams are: Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Norway, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, Serbia and Slovakia.
The African Continent had a busy international break. Fifty-four nations in 12 groups competed in the second round of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 qualifiers.
The Comoros took Africa by surprise after securing the top position in Group 7. Comoros’ goalless draw against Egypt – the most titled champion in Africa – was a victory flavoured draw. Fans invaded the pitch in celebration.
The Comoros, who have never participated in the Africa Cup before, have a strong chance this time. They are in the lead by four points, followed by Egypt and Kenya with two points each.
Comoros produced a battling performance to hold continental giants #Egypt to a goalless draw at home.
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) November 18, 2019
While Egypt suffered the absence of Mo Salah due to his injury, Sadio Mane lead the Sengalese lions to two successful wins against Sudan and Eswatini (Swaziland). Madagascar is proving to be another rising star in Africa, leading its group with seven points ahead of Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast.
The second round of the World Cup 2022 and Asia 2023 joint qualifiers was a heated round during the international break. 46 national teams in eight groups played 46 games across Asia. Despite hosting their matches abroad due to ongoing conflict in the country, Syria is the top performer in Asia qualifiers, scoring 15 points so far.
The biggest international derby in Asia between Indonesia and Malaysia witnessed a full capacity stadium in Kuala Lumpur by 80,000 fans. The Harimau Malaya won 2:0 securing a second position in the tough Group G.
In a sensational win against Iran, Iraqi football fans found a brief respite from the violent protests that started in the country last month. Although the match was held in Jordan due to political unrest, thousands of Iraqi protesters watched the match against its neighbour, Iran, in Tahrir square in Baghdad and chanted against the political leadership in Iraq and against the Iranian interference in their country. Fans considered the 2:1 victory a happy night.
— نبيل_بونيله 🇧🇭 (@Nabeelbunayla11) November 14, 2019
There was an unfamiliar electric atmosphere in Cairo international stadium as thousands of Egyptian fans filled the stands hours from kick-off of the final of the U23 AFCON. Fans were enthusiastic in their support of the local team, in a country were they have been banned from attending local league matches since 2012, due to political reasons.
Three African nations booked their seats to the 2020 Olympics games in Tokyo. Egypt, the runner-up Ivory Coast and South Africa after beating Ghana to third place.
The next international break will begin on 23 March 2020.
— AC Forza Milan/News (@ACForzaMilano) November 20, 2019