With the growing stature of the domestic season, football fans can sometimes see international football as an annoying distraction from the glitz of the Premier League and Champions League. For that very reason, we’ve identified 5 key non-England games for fans of each of the big clubs in England and given suggestions of how you should market the biggest fixture of the 5, to get your punters as excited qs they would be for a club game.
First up, we start with Arsene Wenger’s lads, the 3rd most popular team in the UK – Arsenal:
Croatia vs Nigeria - 8pm, Saturday 16th June
The home grown Gunner Iwobi’s Nigeria are in a pretty tough group of Argentina, Croatia and Iceland. If Nigeria want a chance of getting out the group it looks like this match could be the early sign of who comes runner up to Argentina. For a bit of spice, ex spurs man Modric will be the main man again for Croatia to add a hint of North London Derby flavour.
Russia vs Egypt - 7pm, Tuesday 19th June
A similarly crucial match for a second-place finish in Group A comes for Arsenal’s Egyptian Mohamed Elneny. Playing against the hosts is sure to be tough but with Elneny and the sensational Mo Salah of Liverpool, Egypt could get a result. And even though he’s not an Arsenal man, having Mo Salah on the pitch should be enough of an excuse to get people into the pub on a Tuesday night.
Germany vs Mexico - 4pm, Sunday 17th June
With massive Arsenal favourite Mesut Ozil still being a key man for the Germans, the first defence of their World Cup title should be a massive draw for both Gooners and neutrals. Ozil is definitely the key Arsenal player at the tournament this summer, so why don’t you look to put on an offer/free shot for the first 10 people to claim if Ozil scores?
Brazil vs Switzerland - 7pm, Sunday 17th June
With a prime time billing and the samba boys in town, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue filling the pub for this one. But if you really want to get more Arsenal fans excited, they’ll be interested to see how their Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka gets on against Neymar and co. A good one that’ll prove a laugh with any arsenal fans could be a sweepstake on what minute Xhaka gets his (almost inevitable) yellow card.
KEY FIXTURE - South Korea vs Germany - 3pm, Wednesday 27th June
This is the big one. Helpfully falling as the 3rd and final group game for both these teams, means there could be something meaningful riding on it too. Arsenal favourite Mesut Ozil is against massive Tottenham favourite Son Hueng Min in what you should be billing as a North London Derby. If you know you’ve got a strong base of Arsenal fans as regulars, why not look at doing some sort of German beer offer to get them in at 3pm on a weekday? As this is the final group game, it also gives you plenty of time to promote it on your socials and in the pub.
Check in next week where Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool will get the same treatment...
All images - PA