Football fans tend to dislike the international break.
The disruption of domestic football doesn’t often go down too well at this stage of the season.
But with an international competition on the horizon, there’s a bit more interest in this current international break – especially when we’ve been made to wait 12 months for this summer’s tournament.
While the opening matches of World Cup qualifiers may not grab your attention in the coming days, there’s just something special about an international tournament.
Nothing beats being able to watch the best players in the world – or Europe – do battle in a month-long festival of football.
But an international tournament is more than just football. It’s everything that surrounds it. And that includes Panini’s famous sticker albums.
And today is the day that their Euro 2020 sticker book will hit the shelves.
It’s time for #GotGotNeed!
Despite both the sport and technology moving on in previous decades, the excitement when Panini release their sticker book remains.
“I think it’s often the case with our collections that when it arrives in the shops, that’s the trigger for fans to remember there’s a football tournament coming this summer,” Chris Clover, Panini’s Head of Marketing – Sport, told Daily Star Sport.
“We certainly hope the launch is the spark that ignites the interest for the tournament. People are ready for that at this point.
“It’s been a horrible 12 months or so for everyone, and it’s something to look forward to.
“It might not be exactly as planned but to have a European Championships, with games being played in the UK, is a really unique opportunity.”
Of course, English fans may be looking forward to Euro 2020 more than most nations. Gareth Southgate has a very exciting squad to choose from and the Three Lions will be playing all their group matches at Wembley – as well as the semi-finals and final being held there.
The thought of completing the sticker book in the year that their country win their first trophy since 1966 will appeal to many English fans.
There will be more than 650 stickers to collect in the album with five stickers in each pack but, with three months until the tournament starts, how do Panini select the players in each squad?
“Inevitably we have to make a final call on which players will be included in the album before the official tournament squads are announced,” Clover added.
“We probably get a better insight than most, because we’re talking to the federations about who they’re likely going to pick and what the thinking is of the manager.
“So we do get a nice unique insight, but you can’t legislate for things like injuries, bad form or potentially players that come through in the last few weeks of the season and get a late call-up.
“We never get it absolutely 100 per cent right, but our record is pretty darn good.”