International Break in Soccer: Everything You Need to Know

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What is an international break in soccer? In the beautiful game, there are many different types of competitions that happen year-round at various levels, from youth all the way to the professional level.

Most of the global soccer calendar is made up of club competitions, such as the domestic leagues in each country associated with FIFA as well as more prestigious club tournaments like the Champions League.

However, FIFA makes sure that there are “international breaks” throughout the year so that the best players from these top leagues can represent their countries and earn caps, play in international friendlies, as well as play in major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup.

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What is an International Break in Soccer?

International breaks are an integral part of soccer, offering a pause from regular league games and shifting focus to international competitions, whether that is through friendlies, tournament qualifiers, or a major tournament itself.

International breaks typically last about two weeks and during this time all club competitions come to a pause and national teams assemble their squads scattered across domestic leagues worldwide. The spotlight then shifts from club rivalry to national pride as countries engage in fierce competitions.

During an international break, teams will compete with other national teams in either of the following matches:

  • International friendlies
  • Nation’s League Matches
  • Qualifiers for the World Cup
  • Qualifiers for continental championships
  • Major international tournament matches

What are the Major International Tournaments?

The biggest international tournament in the world is the FIFA World Cup which takes place every four years. There are also other major continental championships for each one of the six main FIFA confederations.

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is divided into six confederations, which represent the main continents of our planet. Each of these confederations has a Nations League, which is basically a league from the countries of that region, as well as major continental tournaments.

For example:

  • UEFA represents Europe and holds the Euro Championships every four years
  • CONMEBOL represents South America and holds the Copa America every four years
  • CONCACAF represents North America and holds the Gold Cup every two years
  • CAF represents Africa and holds the Africa Cup of Nations every four years
  • AFC represents Asia and holds the Asian Cup of Nations every four years

The Role of FIFA in Scheduling International Breaks

Understanding FIFA’s role in scheduling international breaks is critical for every soccer player, fan, or coach. FIFA has a crucial responsibility to sanction ‘international windows’.

These are designated periods where national teams can engage in official matches or friendlies without conflicting with club commitments. This allows top players from the best leagues in the world to represent their countries without disrupting regular season games.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top leagues with the most international players?

The leagues that are usually considered the best in the world include:

  • England- The Premier League (1st division) and the Championship (2nd division)
  • Spain- La Liga
  • Germany- The Bundesliga
  • Italy- Serie A
  • France- Ligue 1
  • Netherlands- Eredivisie
  • Belgium- Belgian Pro League

What is the international break in soccer?

The international break in soccer is a time where club competitions stop to prioritize international competitions. During the international break, national teams compete in friendly matches, qualifying games, or major tournaments.

When are the dates and fixtures for the international break of 2024?

To not miss the action and to get a chance to see top national teams play it is important to find the right days that these teams play on. Check out this post to learn more about when the international break dates are for 2024.

An international break game may happen on any day of the week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and on different months, such as September, February, March, and July, so it is important to know the day and months.

Conclusion

In conclusion, an international break is a very important part of the yearly soccer calendar that allows countries to gather their best players from leagues around the world. During these breaks, national teams will take part in friendly matches, qualifying games, and major tournament games.

In this blog, I covered everything you need to know about a basic, but important soccer term, the international break.

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