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Why doesn’t Europe play matches in the January international window?  Explaining UEFA’s break

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Why doesn’t Europe play matches in the January international window? Explaining UEFA’s break

| Latest News Headlines | World News

As players leave their club teams to meet national teams around the world during the January transfer window, an entire continent is conspicuously missing from the fixture lists.

As North American (CONCACAF), South American (CONMEBOL) and Asian (AFC) nations all push towards World Cup qualification with critical matches throughout next week, European national teams (UEFA ) are in rest and recovery mode.

But why are there no European teams in play in this international window? Because this international window generally does not exist.

Why is there an international break in January?

The January 2022 international window was created by FIFA in August 2020 to allow nations to make up matches missed due to previous COVID-19 postponements. The window has been specially created for all confederations except UEFA, which did not need the extra matches.

MORE: A comprehensive look at World Cup qualifying around the world

The new window was requested by CONMEBOL, who fell behind in their World Cup qualifying matches after matches from March 2020 were postponed. CONMEBOL saw further postponements in March 2021 after travel restrictions prevented players from arriving in South America and returning to their clubs in a timely manner.

CONCACAF also saw postponements in October and November 2020, with matches in both windows – intended to signal the start of qualifying – pushed back to the following March. The United States and other major North American powers were not immediately affected by these postponements, as they were past these initial qualifying phases, but it cluttered the schedule the rest of the way.

MORE: PL players in January’s World Cup qualifiers

Despite UEFA’s empty schedule, European clubs were still forced to pause for the new international break as too many players from other confederations would leave.

USMNT fans might be somewhat accustomed to watching the national team play a game at the end of January, but it was usually an all-MLS based team that would play a friendly at the end of the January camp. For example, the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 in January 2021. This was to keep national team players based in the country fit during the national club offseason and ready for important matches to come at the end of March. Clubs around the world in the middle of a season were not required – and therefore were not asked – to release players for this international game.

When will UEFA resume?

European teams will return to play in the March international window, with scheduled friendlies or critical World Cup qualifiers.

Ten European teams have qualified for the 2022 World Cup, while 33 others have been knocked out. Another 12 are still in contention for the final three spots, set to contest three four-team knockout mini-groups, with each winner earning a spot.

Famously, Italy and Portugal were drawn in the same knockout bracket, meaning at least one of the last two Euro winners will miss out on a World Cup spot.

group A

Semi-finals

Dated Homepage Goal A way
March 24, 2022 Wales 0-0 Austria
March 24, 2022 Scotland 0-0 Ukraine

Finals

Dated Homepage Goal A way
March 29, 2022 Wales/Austria 0-0 Scotland/Ukraine

Group B

Semi-finals

Dated Homepage Goal A way
March 24, 2022 Russia 0-0 Poland
March 24, 2022 Sweden 0-0 Czech Republic

Finals

Dated Homepage Goal A way
March 29, 2022 Russia/Poland 0-0 Sweden/Czech Republic

Group C

Semi-finals

Dated Homepage Goal A way
March 24, 2022 Portugal 0-0 Turkey
March 24, 2022 Italy 0-0 North Macedonia

Finals

Dated Homepage Goal A way
March 29, 2022 Portugal/Turkey 0-0 Italy/North Macedonia

All other European fixtures scheduled for the March international break are friendlies, with clashes including England v Switzerland, Netherlands v Germany, Belgium v ​​Ireland and Spain v Ireland. Iceland on the program. France currently have no matches scheduled for the March international window.

What is normal international time?

In recent years, the FIFA schedule has built international breaks throughout the schedule at regular intervals.

MORE: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying schedule

Until 2021, for example, international breaks in late March, early September, early October and mid-November allowed national teams to complete the fixtures needed to qualify for domestic competitions or the World Cup. In addition, summer allows national teams to have extended competitions or play friendly matches.

Barring further disruptions to the calendar, this particular international window will end in early February, allowing the Premier League to resume play on February 5.



Why doesn’t Europe play matches in the January international window? Explaining UEFA’s break

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