For Chelsea fans living in the Far East, sleep can be a bit of a precious commodity during the football season, especially during the business end of the campaign when there is no shortage of big midweek games for the Blues, with matches which invariably kick off at about 3am in our part of the world.
And there is usually little respite for us during the even-numbered years when the World Cup and Euros take place, leaving us bleary eyed throughout June as we sacrifice precious shut-eye time in order to watch the likes of New Zealand taking on Slovakia, or Honduras playing against Chile on football’s biggest stage.
Sadly, the big games at the major football tournaments (apart from the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan) don’t usually take place at viewer-friendly times for us. But such is our passion for the sport that we willingly stay up late in the hope of seeing something special, like Brazil v Italy in 1982, Spain v Yugoslavia in 2000 or Italy v Germany in 2006.
But while I am willing to give up sleep for football every other summer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. And so, with little regret, I have opted against setting my alarm clock to watch the on-going Confederations Cup.
Now from what I have seen on the morning sports wrap-ups, it has been a fairly interesting tournament with plenty of good football from the likes of Spain and Brazil, and a cracker of a game between Japan and Italy (which I did watch live because it kicked off at a fairly hospitable 6.00am).
But at the end of the day, I am certainly not in the minority in not really caring too much for a competition which is essentially a dry run for the big event in Brazil next summer. After all, how many football fans, if asked on the spot, could name the teams which contested the last Confederations Cup final in 2009?
As a Chelsea fan, my bigger concern right now is how this competition will affect the club’s preparations for the new season.
Of course, I like seeing our players doing well for their international teams and we certainly have no shortage of representatives in Brazil right now with David Luiz and Oscar turning out for the hosts, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta playing for Spain, and John Obi Mikel appearing for Nigeria alongside a very interesting Blues prospect in Kenneth Omeruo.
However, given how much football they have played in the past 12 months (especially Oscar and Mata who were also involved in last year’s Olympics), I am sure that many of us would have preferred for those players to be enjoying some downtime right now, particularly after the marathon 69-game campaign that ended last month.
The biggest worry is that they might pick up a bad injury in the tournament and I am sure that many of us were sweating on the health of David Luiz last week when he had a clash of heads in Brazil’s game against Mexico that necessitated an impromptu striptease to get out of his bloodied yellow kit.
But even if they come through the tournament unscathed, the players will not be able to get together with the rest of the squad at Cobham for the start of pre-season training in July and could miss out on some precious training time with their Chelsea team-mates as they gear up for the season opener against Hull on August 17.
Of course, there are some positives that we can glean from the situation. The fact that Torres has been banging in the goals for fun for Spain in Brazil, despite not being in Vicente del Bosque’s first team selection, should bolster his confidence ahead of his return to the club.
And Ramires, having been overlooked by Brazil, should be eager to impress for the Blues in the upcoming campaign as he looks to regain his spot in his national team for the World Cup.
Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club