With the vast investment implemented into club football, it seems this may have taken prominence in the sport, with international encounters perhaps becoming secondary. Yet, the China Cup may have showcased how it might have the potential to surpass domestic football in terms of importance, as it seems to successfully use the international period productively. Whilst friendly encounters may be useful in providing opportunities for new players to showcase their credentials at the pinnacle, the China Cup utilised a tournament format, enabling teams to attain experience prior to major tournaments. When coupled with the opportunity to ultimately attain silverware, motivation may be at its peak, and this may therefore be the most prominent reasoning surrounding why it may be at the forefront of focus.
The tournament itself is an invitational event, whereby eligibility occurs solely as a result of the organisers providing nations with opportunities. With all countries therefore seeking to showcase the reasoning why they attained this opportunity, competitive and intriguing encounters may be produced. When coupled with the credentials of these nations, including with their respective managers, fan interest may also be ignited. This may be an increasingly important goal for the organisers, as with the competition hosted in China, they may be aiming to attain increased support across the nation. Considering the advancements they have made domestically, in tandem with their overarching goal to advance the national side, it may be an opportunity for them to draw focus upon their credentials. As such, geographical boundaries may be bypassed, highlighting the benefits of the sport being contested across the globe.
Whilst Uruguay ultimately emerged victorious, the nation which may claim plaudits might be Wales, with them perhaps superiorly impacted via their involvement. The tournament ultimately signalled Ryan Giggs’ first opportunity to achieve as Wales manager; to both learn about his team and showcase the reasoning surrounding why he attained the role. Having amassed a vast array of silverware as a player, along with multiple international caps, his credentials in this aspect seemed noteworthy, yet he may be required to prove himself as a manager. He ultimately seems to have adhered to this ideology, with his first result a 6-0 triumph versus China. Considering this occurred versus a former World Cup winning coach in Marcello Lippi, he may be most poignantly showcasing the benefits of placing faith in a fresh manager with new ideologies.
Giggs may, therefore, claim a multitude of plaudits, yet it may also be important to focus on the performances of members of his side, most notably Gareth Bale. Whilst a number of players in various sides played proficiently in their encounters, perhaps in their quest to impress their managers and maintain their position in the side, it seemed Bale accomplished the most. Versus China, Bale scored a hattrick, enabling him to surpass Ian Rush and set a record as Wales’ record goalscorer. As such, he may be referred to as the talisman of the nation, who might be able to spearhead their quest towards another major tournament. Considering he plays domestically for Real Madrid, he may possess the necessary experience to achieve this.
Ultimately, the tournament may be imperative in showcasing the benefits of international football, contributing in the quest to draw it alongside its domestic counterparts. Whilst it seems to attain plaudits for providing an interlude from domestic football, utilising a tournament format may ensure players attain experience in competitive fixtures. This may, therefore, ensure players have more credible and valid reasoning for playing internationally. With a prime reason behind Uruguay’s victory their experience at the pinnacle, other nations may aim to replicate their formula. As such, these tournaments may play a more prominent role in the sport in the future, as the benefits seem superior to friendlies.
How might achieving in the China Cup ensure Wales may play in future major tournaments?