As 2024 begins, FOOTBALL NOW takes a look at some of the big football stories that we can expect to see in the coming year including international tournaments and potentially record-breaking transfers.
The 2024 football calendar promises to be filled with excitement, surprises, and significant moments. Football enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await stories from the sport’s most popular game. As we enter the new year, they want to hear the drama on and off the pitch, takeovers and transfers to new competitions and league challengers.
Once again, international football dominates the calendar. It has been one year since Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup 2022. The country again steps onto the global stage as hosts of the 2022 Asian Cup. The host nation has dealt with a last-minute managerial change. Marquez Lopez replaced Carlos Queiroz in December, but the Maroons will compete with confidence, having won the title back in 2019
Middle East football expert Mena Aalhy expects the hosts to go far again, as they’ve recruited many younger players who are pumping new blood into the team.
“They did an amazing job with hosting the World Cup. Their fans showed up for the team in a really amazing way every single time. So I think it’s going to be a great experience for the team and the fans. As a team, we’ve seen them win in 2019. They were absolutely incredible. It was a great competition for them. They’re at the right rhythm and have the right energy, and I am really looking forward to seeing how they will handle the competition.
Over in Africa, the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off at the same time. The tournament, which follows a format similar to the Asian Cup, will take place on the Ivory Coast. The West African nation has waited an extra three years to host AFCON and was initially awarded the competition in 2021. The league is set to expand from eight to 24 teams in the upcoming season. Matches will be held nationwide in 2024 in locations such as Abidjan, Bouake, Korhogo, San Pedro and Yamoussukoro.
African football expert Maher Mahzi believes there’s one particular player that fans need to keep an eye on at this year’s tournament.
“Over the last decade in African football, there have been a handful of superstars that have really made their name. You have Sadio Mané, of course, and Mohamed Salah, former teammates at Liverpool and Riyad Mahrez. However, this time, there’s a new generation of players that we look forward to watching. The main one is Napoli star striker Victor Osimhen. He missed the previous AFCON because he had broken his nose, and that’s the reason he wears a mask right now. But this time, Nigeria are keen on having him play.” Maher Mahzi explained.
Meanwhile, Europe’s leading international tournament takes place in the summer. Germany takes over as host of the European Championship 2024. The last time the country hosted a major tournament was the FIFA 2006 World Cup. German football expert Chris Williams told Football Now that fans visiting Germany won’t be disappointed.
“It’s a fabulous place to watch football, and it’s also a very friendly place as well. And the Germans are excited to welcome the whole of Europe to the Euros again. The infrastructure within the stadiums was massively improved. There are only so many older traditional stadiums now. Most of them are newly built, but they’ve not lost their souls.” Says Chris.
Rounding off the major international competitions in 2024 is the Copa America, which will take place in the USA. The country will use the tournament as a springboard to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. On the pitch, Argentina will be looking to build on their World Cup-winning momentum. La Albiceleste are the reigning champions and have the opportunity to become the first team from the continent to win it twice in a row, with a World Cup in between.
Aside from the men’s game, women’s football continues to grow. There has been massive progress with salaries. Keira Walsh currently holds the record with a 500,000 Euro transfer to Barcelona from Manchester United. Teammate and goalkeeper Mary Earps was linked with a move away from the club in a deal that would have likely eclipsed the previous record. As the sport progresses, we may finally witness the breaking of the 1 million Euro barrier in the women’s games over the course of the season.
With a flurry of international and domestic competitions marked throughout the sporting calendar and the potential for record-breaking transfers, 2024 could likely be even more enthralling than the previous years.