How shit are friendlies? They come along, they take away the football we actually care about and they usually end up injuring players that could’ve been doing better things with their time. The battle to get international friendlies scrapped altogether seems to be a futile one, so instead we’ve decided to come up with some ways to spice things up a bit… By borrowing some of the best things about wrestling, such as…
In wrestling, stipulation matches are used to guarantee some excitement in a match that might need a bit of livening up and there’s nothing that needs livening up as much as international friendlies do.
Sure, we probably can’t have matches decided by someone being put through a table (although the thought of Per Mertesacker chokeslamming Suarez through one is quite appealing…), but we could stick a steel cage around the pitch and have no throw ins or corners, or triple threat matches, where the pitch is divided triangularly and we have three teams playing at once instead, or even something with Elimination Chamber styled timed entrances, so the match starts of 1vs1 before other players are introduced every few minutes in random order. Sure, it might end up that you’ve got a 4vs1 situation at some point, but at least that’d give everyone a half decent excuse the next time England get outplayed by Chile.
National anthems are rubbish, there’s no two ways about it. Who wants to hear some antiquated falsification of ‘national pride’ when the teams could come out to something that could really get the blood pumping and the stadium rocking? Germany could come out to Rammstein, Norway to Kvelertak and England to… erm… Craig David?
We could go the whole way and even have them play live. The NFL has live music whenever there’s a big event (even if it was only Tinie Tempah when it came to Wembley earlier this year) and it makes everything just that little bit more special on the night, it won’t solve the pointlessness of the matches, but it would make you feel like you’re getting a good bit more for your money.
“Ibrahimovic gets past Jagielka, he’s one on one with Joe Hart! OH MY G- WHO’S THIS?! SOL CAMPBELL WITH A SLIDE TACKLE FROM OUTTA NOWHERE!!!” It’d be brilliant (and yes, we would bring Jim Ross in for commentary duties), imagine being in the pub watching the game and something like this happened, the place would explode!
There’s always big names at most matches anyway, why not give them something to do?
Okay, so Sol Campbell coming back to save the day kind of touches on this already, but you could also have more planned occurrences. No one in their right mind could bring themselves to care about a Italy vs France friendly these days, but if you bill it as ‘MARCO MATERAZZI. ZINIDINE ZIDANE. ONE. LAST. TIME.’ we would all watch the shit out of it.
Of course, this might not be a massive help to England since they’ve not really got any legends who could make a real impact (Neither Gazza nor the team of ’66 are in the best shape right now), but it’s not like the idea of a showdown between the likes of Ronaldinho and Luis Figo wouldn’t be worth watching for the neutral.
Special Guest Referees
Imagine it: Maradona guest refereeing England vs Argentina, Thierry Henry reffing France vs Ireland. Legends of the game with one last chance for redemption against teams they’ve wronged… Or, of course, they could rub salt in the wound and go the other way, but it’d at least make these games mean something and anyway, it’s not like their bias or influence would really matter, because they’re stupid pissing friendlies that no one cares about!
Ryan De Freitas.