Club Soccer’s International Break


Casey Held

Some fans like it, some fans don’t- but whether you like it or not, international break is upon us. International break refers to the period of the year in which club soccer is halted and players are called up to their national teams to represent their country against others. International break usually doesn’t last more than a week or two, but for some, it seems to feel a lot longer.

Each continent has its own games to focus on. European squads are in the process of qualifying for the Euro’s, which will take place in 2024. Teams in North America are competing in the CONCACAF Nations League, which is essentially a tournament between all the North American national teams. Aside from that, teams from South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and everything in between are partaking in international friendlies.

In most areas of the world, the first round of games have already been played. England narrowly beat Italy, who eliminated them in the Euro final not too long ago. Portugal pulled off a comfortable win, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice. World Cup champions Argentina pulled off a 2-0 over Panama in a heated contest. They also destroyed Curacao in a 7-0 win. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick, taking him to 100 international goals, becoming one of only three players to have ever achieved this feat.

There are plenty of games to come, as well as some big stories. San Marino are in search of their first win since a 1-0 friendly win over Liechtenstein in 2004 and for their first ever competitive win as a nation. After a huge upset over Denmark, Kazakhstan look for their first ever trip to the Euro’s.

An unexpected star might be emerging in the Italian national team: one that wasn’t even born in Italy. Argentina-born striker Mario Retegui just received his first ever international call-up and he’s got off to a flying start, scoring in his first two games. Retegui plays his club soccer in Argentina and doesn’t even speak Italian. At 23 years old, he looks like he could be part of the future generation of Italian soccer.

Across the Atlantic, the USA pulled off a commanding 7-1 win over Grenada, with Alejandro Zendejas scoring his first goal as a US international. Having been born in Mexico, Zendejas opted to represent the Stars and Stripes, and he was rewarded for that decision, scoring on his debut. Scotland pulled off what will certainly be one of the biggest upsets this break, defeating Spain 2-0. Scott McTominay of Manchester United scored twice to humble the former World Cup champions. 

By the time you’re reading this, the international break will have concluded and club soccer will have returned, with games being played over the weekend and until the next international break in September of this year.