Soapbox Suzy: Counting down the days…

Susanne looks at the value of international fixtures

Atleti move into pole position in Group D

For many a player, being called up to the national team is one of the greatest achievement’s of one’s career. To wear the colors of your country, and to represent it at international grounds must be, professionally, awesome.

In the case of Atlético, the nomination of several of our players is also acknowledgement of the great work Cholo et al. are doing at the club. You have to take your hat off to Simeone — his work undoubtedly earned Juanfran, Filipe, Mario, Koke, and Diego Costa their first international appearances.

And let’s not forget about our great youth players, who are regulars for their Under-21, -20, -19, -17, etc. teams.

I am happy for our players. Not only for those who have just recently made their debuts, but also for the ones who are national team regulars.

But, personally, I detest international breaks.

Weekends without league football are difficult to stand. Even if you have many, many more things to do to keep yourself distracted, something just isn’t right. The team trains normally and in silence, but only with half the players.

There is football, but it’s not the same. Or, at least, not for me.

Many football fans can easily switch over to “national team mode” during these times, but I can’t. I have to admit that I am not the slightest bit patriotic when it comes to football. I never have been. I am a football club supporter. I have my two clubs that own my heart, and nothing else comes close.

Many people tell me that because of my nationality (German), I should support every team from my home country in European competitions, and that I must support my national team. I hear that all the time. But I can only answer with a shrug. Maybe I am strange, but I have difficulties supporting a team that is comprised of a group of players whom I totally detest when they are playing at their respective clubs. I should like them just because they put on another shirt and the national anthem is played before the match? It isn’t as if many German players sing along to it anyway.

What makes it even worse for me is the case that, when the national team is playing, everyone comes out with their shirts, floral wreaths, or hats in the national colors and tell you how much they know about football, that they are a better fan than you, etc.

After a beer they tell you that they don’t watch club football, because it’s a sports for unkempt, unemployed, violent, uneducated men (and masculine women) with a drinking problem.

They tell you they will never understand why people cry over something as “stupid” as their favorite club being relegated, but will cry themselves when the national team loses a friendly.

Those people ruin all my fun when watching a match. I do watch the matches, and I cheer for the goals, but there is just no spark.

Even when I try to catch matches of the national teams where Atlético players appear and cheer for them, it feels different. There are no red and white stripes, there is no Calderón, no flowers in the corner, no Indi, no nothing.

And, I’m constantly praying that none of our players get seriously injured.

So in the end, the international break is something to be endured, while counting down the days until real football starts up again….

  • starvs

    I love Atleti with all my heart, but I also love the United States national team. I don’t particularly like (or dislike) most of the players, but the trumps all of that. It may help that no American player has ever played for a rival of my club team.

    Maybe it is more exciting for me as an American, because the success of our national team is much much more important for the success / growth of the sport compared to pretty much any country in the world. It’s also fun to be an underdog.

    Either way, can’t wait for next atleti game.

  • Ty Gambo

    I’m not patriotic in any way, so I get you, guess.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Susanne, I just missed Egypt vs Guinea yesterday, I was sleeping .. although we are having the best World Cup Qualifications campaign in our history, wining all the 6 games in group stage, something Egypt never did in its history, and something no other national team in any continent did in this World Cup Qualifications

    but in the same week, I watched Atleti vs Athletic in Europa League Final 2012 om my computer

    I’m a patriot, and if I wasn’t a patriot or if I wasn’t even an Egyptian I would still be a big fan of this great generation of Egypt national team
    But despite of that, just like you said : It’s not the same

  • GreekRojiblanco(piserakos)

    i agree with you… i am too much patriot. but what i can’t stand to my national team even if i support them is that almost all the players are players who i hate (espatially our basketball team) and also there are player from other countries who play at our national team(german also has this problem) i love my national team but if someone askes me atleti champions or my national team… i would go with atleti…!

  • kris

    International breaks are pretty boring,, I have to admit,, but when my country is playing,, I go full into supporting my country,, because it’s my country.. It just comes in to me.. Nothing more,, nothing less,, I can’t help but support the country I am living in..

  • Heisenberg

    I was never especially patriotic but there was a time when international break was a height of football year for me, I would get goosebumps for weeks before the game was played.
    Well, that changed. Since three or four years ago I gradually started to learn that national team of my country has only one big purpose : to sell players (or raise their price), and that it was like that perhaps all the time (only not in such proportion and it was not so obvious) . Result is secondary. And that our manager is basically human scum, people in football federation as well.. And that they do not represent me in any way. So i stopped caring. And after that my national team slowly started to disgust me.

    However , I don’t mind international break. There is usually a lot of good matches, goals, great stories..

  • Andres (Lolaya)

    Let’s not forget Gimenez who got his debut with Uruguay yesterday. He was marking Falcao almost the whole game and even though my team lost (Colombia :() I was happy to see Gimenez replace Godin (suspended) and mark Falcao pretty well against my favorite player (Even more sadness D:)