Euro 2020 is over. Next Season Starts Now.

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In Europe, most teams still have six qualifiers to play; will have to negotiate a playoff before a few more take their places. The group stages in Asia haven’t even started yet. Africa hasn’t even started yet, and it has a continental championship to match: the Nations Cup is scheduled to take place in Cameroon in January. South America’s extended qualifying process is a third of the way: Brazil tops the standings after six games, but there are still 12 left to play.

And in North America, the extended final qualifying round won’t start until September, with teams playing 14 games to discover which will make it to Mexico next year, the only sure thing in the region, in the finals. All of this has to fit into a club schedule already compressed by the scheduling change necessary to accommodate a World Cup held in the northern hemisphere’s winter, unlike what was first and foremost announced.

This will force Europe’s major domestic leagues – the competitions that will provide the bulk of the players for the World Cup – to start the 2022-23 season a little earlier, taking a one-month hiatus midway through their campaigns. But that doesn’t mean the next season will end sooner: The Champions League final, the pinnacle of the 2021-22 club campaign, is scheduled for 28 May in St. Petersburg is planned. Once again, what little elastic can be found from the players’ chance to rest.

In fact, it’s not until the summer of 2023 that the world’s elite male players have a summer to rest and properly recover. Most are Europeans and South Americans anyway. There is another Nations Cup and a Gold Cup scheduled for Africa that summer.

As always, it is the players who will pay the price, and especially ironically who will enjoy the greatest success. At Wembley on Sunday evening, it was hard not to be impressed by the composure, composure, and stubbornness of Chiellini and Bonucci, those gray-haired ex-combatants at the heart of Italy’s defense. Among them are 220 international covers.

They’ve been doing this for almost twenty years. They deserve the splendor and ceremony of an official reception with the Italian president. Yet they deserve a break more than anything. They can have one now. But they should make sure they are back to work within two weeks.

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