When next year’s World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Monday, November 21, players will not be released by their club until a week early. National coach Roberto Martinez will not receive his Red Devils until the Monday before. Barely a week of preparation, isn’t that a disaster? Not necessary.
No end-of-season fatigue
Usually there are about four to five weeks between the end of the competitions and the start of a World Cup. Roberto Martinez used that time to give his players a break, so that they can recharge the batteries physically and especially mentally. That will be impossible, but it may also be unnecessary. The World Cup will not fall after a long and grueling season, but before halfway through the various competitions. Players will not need a rest at that point.
No long journeys in Qatar
The previous World Cup lasted 32 days. The next only 28 days. This is possible because in the group stage more matches are played per day and there is a rest day less in the schedule. Wouldn’t some extra preparation time be in order? Well, a World Cup in Qatar looks like a big mistake in all respects, only the teams will not lose energy on travel. All matches take place in the capital Doha. We’ll have to wait and see if that turns out to be a windfall, but it certainly saves the teams a lot of time on long journeys.
Nations League in preparation
Another consequence of a World Cup in the fall is that the Red Devils only have one international break between the start of the 2022-2023 season and the start of the World Cup, at the end of September. It serves for two Nations League matches. This year there are three: in September, October and November. Knowing that there is also only a week of preparation, that makes a practice pot in the run-up to Qatar very difficult to fit in. But that shouldn’t be a problem either. The Red Devils’ game system is well known and Martinez never seemed inclined to vary it. In addition, the Nations League matches – two in September and four (!) in June 2022 – can be used as test cases.