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Biennial World Cup bad for ‘stressed’ players, says Germany’s women’s coach

  • September 08, 2021

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is less than enthusiastic about FIFA’s blueprint proposal to double the frequency of World Cups from every four years to every two.

Beyond the logistical challenges, Voss-Tecklenburg has highlighted that players simply play too many games and are already under too much stress.

“My natural reaction is: I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I’m also thinking, how should we implement it? European Championship, World Cup, Olympics, where should another World Cup fit in?” she expressed at a digital press conference on Wednesday before the start of the German women’s soccer team’s qualifying campaign.

She also said the reformed Women’s Champions League with its new group stage influenced her negative stance. “The highly stressed players also need a break at some point,” said the national coach.

Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, has suggested increasing the frequency of the World Cup

FIFA ‘feasibility study’

While still only an idea, it has reached the stage where FIFA is carrying out a feasibility study into the practicalities of changing the four-year cycle, which has been in place since the World Cup’s inception in 1930.

It would mean squeezing continental championships such as the European Championship, Gold Cup, Copa America and AFCON into the alternate years, something that the Germany coach feels would devalue international football’s premier event.

“I’m happy with the current set-up. The World Cup is something special. But if there are resounding arguments for a change, I will be happy to listen to them,” Voss-Tecklenburg added.

The study is being led by Arsene Wenger, former Arsenal manager and FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, who earlier this year told French newspaper L’Equipe that the idea is to reduce the number of international breaks that disrupt the domestic football calendar and give more countries the chance to host a World Cup.

Germany’s women are about to embark on qualifying for World Cup 2023

Voss-Tecklenburg, Flick and Kuntz exchange ideas

The immediate challenge for Voss-Tecklenburg and her team is to get a good start to qualifying for the women’s World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand, which gets underway with a double-header against Bulgaria and Serbia on September 18 and 21 in Cottbus and Chemnitz.

“We’re under pressure to get results, we want to play well as the level of competition rises,” she said. “We want to qualify for this World Cup convincingly. We now also have opponents that we simply have to defeat.” Germany will also face Turkey, Israel and Portugal in Group H.

Voss-Tecklenburg revealed that she has also been in conversation with new national coach Hansi Flick and U21 head coach Stefan Kuntz – and will continue to exchange ideas with her DFB colleagues.

“We learn from each other,” she said. “These are all experiences that help us.” 

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