Friday 22 March 2024, 13:00

More playing opportunities: FIFA Member Associations embrace the first FIFA Series

  • Member Associations applaud the unique opportunities presented by the FIFA Series

  • The pilot tournaments provide a chance for technical development

  • The FIFA Series runs from 18 to 26 March, 2024

FIFA Member Associations (MA) have universally embraced the exciting challenges that the FIFA Series will bring. The tournaments, each involving four teams from different confederations and played in a single host country, have been designed to support Member Associations in organising international friendly matches against opponents from other parts of the world.

In doing so, they open the door to technical development opportunities that may not have been there otherwise.

The pilot project runs from 18 to 26 March 2024 and will feature national teams from all six FIFA confederations. Teams have enthusiastically approved the initiative, which they are looking to use as a vehicle to prepare for further international progress.

Former Brazil international Antônio Carlos, who is now the Bolivia head coach, believes these games can help achieve the ultimate ambition of taking the Andean nation to a FIFA World Cup™ for the first time since 1994. “Our main goal has always been to get the Bolivians to dream about the World Cup,” said Antônio Carlos. “After that, we want to play in the World Cup. “We are working really hard and trying to develop football in Bolivia. If we achieve this, the players will get here already well prepared. It’s six months of intense work.

Players of Bolivia celebrate

“I think this is a very important FIFA initiative to bring the continents together. For us, (it) is crucial to play against African teams, European teams and maybe Asian teams in the future,” he added. “These sorts of tournaments are crucial for us to compete, a chance to try to get better, always.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Bolivia goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra. “Hopefully, it’s not just the first one and we will keep getting invited,” he said. “We hope to put on a good show for everyone, those at the stadium and those watching from home.

FIFA Series 2024 match schedule

“As a national team, we have been preparing ourselves for the [CONMEBOL] Copa America and the rest of the [FIFA World Cup] qualifiers. But we also consider that during these games, as it’s a FIFA tournament, we have to show how we want to play in the future.” Algeria captain Yacine Brahimi also wants his team-mates to use this experience as a learning curve. “It might be more or less intense, or the game might be more technical, or even more based on defence or attack so that will allow us not exactly to get out of our comfort zone, but move away from what we already know, for those games we play in Africa,” he said ahead of Algeria’s opening game against Bolivia. “So I think it’s a really positive thing that will allow us to progress and improve.”

Yacine Brahimi of Algeria celebrates with the FIFA Arab Cup trophy and the Adidas Golden Ball award

Brahimi knows what it is like to experience the joy of a FIFA World Cup, having played for Algeria in the 2014 edition in Brazil. “We got to the Round of 16 and I think the way we did it was great for us.I just remember every game, every chance we had on goal and the moment when I scored.  Even the game against Russia when we qualified – it was a historic moment for us to get to the last sixteen. Or even the famous game against Germany that shocked quite a few people, I think.

“We took them to extra-time, we very nearly got through, and they then went on to win the (FIFA) World Cup. So I’m just extremely proud. I have a lot of memories and I sincerely hope that our country goes through those feelings once more.”

Bulgaria's head coach Ilian Iliev

It was a sentiment shared by Bulgaria head coach Ilian Iliev, who also believes that this tournament can set the foundations for FIFA World Cup qualification.

“I think that for us, this is a good opportunity, because we are one of the first teams to participate in this type of initiative and we salute FIFA for it. We will meet teams with different styles of play, like the African nations. If we qualify for the FIFA World Cup one day, this would be useful preparation for that.”