International Friendlies: A Complete Guide to Betting on Friendlies 2022

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In a football world that is based on the idea of two teams competing against each other, the term ‘friendly' is a bit of an oxymoron. Friendlies are not played often, however, whenever two teams face each other, punters will always get a chance to try and guess the outcome of the match. This article will highlight some important points to keep in mind for those interested in betting on international friendlies.

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International friendlies Explained

You may already know a bit about international friendlies, but we take a deeper look into what international friendlies are, where they are aired, and how they are decided.

What are international friendlies?

International friendly matches are basically exhibition matches played between teams from different countries and whose result has no effect on other competitions. These mathces come around a few times a year, depending on what the rest of calendar holds for clubs and nations alike. They are normally scheduled a few days before the start of an international tournament such as a World Cup, EURO Cup, African Nations Cup etc.

They offer the opportunity for national team coaches to bring a squad together and work on teamwork and tactics so that the players are prepared for the matches in which they're called upon to represent their respective countries.

More often than not, these friendlies are used by managers to try out experimental formations since the outcome of the match is not important. Check out the most popular betting markets so that you can tailor your bets depending on the changes in the starting line ups which you can see.

Where to watch international friendlies

Normally, international friendlies are shown by selected TV stations in the countries competing. They are also shown on FIFA's channel on YouTube TV. Matches are also shown on other entertainment providers such as ESPN.

  • Some of the best football betting sites will also be able to stream the matches via their live-streaming service.

How international friendly fixtures are decided

There are particular time frames during the year in which international friendlies are allowed to take place due to the requirements from domestic club leagues such as the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga and continental club cups such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Apart from this, there are other commitments such as World Cup qualifiers and international tournament schedules from UEFA, CONMEBOL and more.

The dates agreed upon for 2022 are the following:

DatesApplicable forMax number of match dates
9th January – 6th February
CAF African Cup of Nations
24th January – 1st February
24th January – 2nd February
21st – 29th MarchAFC, CAF, CONMEBOL, OFC & UEFA)2
21st – 30th March
30th May – 14th June
19th – 27th September
14th November/18th December
FIFA World Cup 2022N/A
  • Official matches allow players to be released from their clubs 4 days prior to the international match so that they may join the rest of the national team in training sessions before the matches. If the matches are friendlies, they are deemed as less important and so the required release time is 48 hours before the match.


Upcoming International Friendlies Fixtures 2022

January – March

Here is the list of international friendlies to take place in the first quarter of the year. The initial days are filled with matches from African nations are they prepare themselves for the African Cup of Nations 2021 which will take place between 9th January 2022 and 6th February 2022 after it was originally planned for January 2021.

Algeria vs DR Congo
Uganda vs Mauritania
Rwanda vs Guinea
DR Congo vs Burkina Faso
Cameroon vs Guinea Bissau
Rwanda vs Senegal
Comoros vs Malawi
Algeria vs Ghana
Rwanda vs Guinea
Finland vs Sweden
Finland vs Sweden
Peru vs Honduras
Korea Republic vs Iceland
Colombia vs Honduras
Peru vs Panama
Japan vs Uzbekistan
Korea Republic vs Moldova
Peru vs Jamaica
22/01/2022Canada vs Guatemala
New Zealand vs Jordan
Uzbekistan vs New Zealand
Bahrain vs DR Congo
Germany vs Israel

April – June

This period will most probably be quite quiet as most club-level leagues and cups come to an end towards the last week of May and the UEFA Nations League matches (explained further down) in early June 2022. Having said that, the one match we're certain will take place is a huge one.

01/06/2022Italy vs Argentina
  • The match between Italy and Argentina will be an exhibition match between the EURO Cup winner (Italy) and Copa America winner (Argentina), in London, after UEFA and CONMEBOL decided the match will serve as a sort of Intercontinental Super Cup. It is still unclear whether an actual trophy will be presented on the day.
  • The match is the first of its type and came about after FIFA's plans for a biennal World Cup were communicated. Both UEFA and CONMEBOL were against the idea and this particular match is part of a plan for increased cooperation between the two governing bodies.

July – September

More details about matches happening in this period will follow. We can expect a few international friendlies to take place during this period in as teams prepare themselves for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

October to December

More details to follow here too. Here we also expect a number of international friendlies to take place, especially towards early November, right before the FIFA World Cup starts on 21st November 2022. The tournament will go on until 18th December 2022.


International Football Competitions

The lack of time available for friendlies is partially due to the fact that national teams are already involved in various tournaments which are organised by FIFA or their continents' governing bodies – UEFA (Europe), AFC (Asia), CONMEBOL (South America), CONCACAF (North America), CAF (Africa) and OFC (Oceania).

Here's a rundown of the most important tournaments to keep an eye out for.

FIFA World Cup & FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

The FIFA World Cup is currently being organised every 4 years with the next one taking place in Qatar in 2022. The 32 participating teams must go through a qualification process which involves playing against teams from it's own continent with the exception of 1 country – the host nation, Qatar, which qualifies automatically. This will be Qatar's first World Cup participation.

Each continent has it's own qualification process and the amount of places available is split as follows:

2 play-off qualifiers will be played (Asia vs. South America, and North America vs. Oceania) to determine the final 2 qualifying teams.

The following World Cup will take place in 16 cities across Canada, Mexico and USA in 2026 and will consist of 48 teams. The qualification process normally starts around 2 years beforehand.

Check out our FIFA World Cup Betting Guide.

International Tournaments – EURO Cup

The EURO Cup is organised by UEFA every 4 years with the last one being won by Italy in 2021 (after it was postponed from 2020). Similar to their participation in the World Cup, participating nations will be split into 10 groups of 5 or 6 teams each and each team will play against the others in a home and away round robin format.

The following qualifying matches will be played during specific 3 day periods in March, June, September, October and November 2023. The final play offs to determine the full list of 24 teams will be played in March 2024. The hosts for the EURO 2024 will be Germany so they will qualify automatically.

Check out our TPP EURO 2024 Betting Guide.

International Tournaments – UEFA Nations League

In order to cut down on organised international friendlies, UEFA decided to start a new competition, the Nations League, which will eventually determine a few places in the EURO Cup. It also helps give some structure to the international fixtures calendar, however, some have argued that this new tournament has increased the number of matches being played and will actually hinder the preseason training or holiday period of players.

Matches for the 2022/23 League will take place exactly after the 2021/22 domestic season is over. 4 matchdays are scheduled between the 2nd and 14th June. The last two matchdays for the league which consists of a group stage with groups of a maximum of 4 teams, will take place between the 22nd and 27th September 2022.

The final stage of the tournament will then take place between the 14th and 18th June 2023.

For more info check out our Nations League Betting Guide.

International Tournament – Others

Other important international tournaments to follow are:

  • Copa America – held once every four years with the next one scheduled for June/July 2024
  • African Cup of Nations – held once every two years with the next one scheduled for January/February 2022
  • AFC Asian Cup – held once every four years with the next one scheduled for June/July 2023
  • CONCACAF Gold Cup – held once every two years with the next one scheduled for June/July 2023


International Fixtures and FIFA Rankings

The FIFA World Rankings is an important list which ranks all countries by a system of points which can be won every time a national team plays in a match which is recognised by FIFA.

How points are given for FIFA Rankings

The points system is a complex one which gives different weight to matches being played depending on the importance and outcome of the match. It also takes the expected result into consideration so that it can make a difference between an expected result and an unexpected one.

The different coefficients of match importance are based on the follows different levels:

  • Level 1 – friendlies played outside the International Match Calendar windows
  • Level 2 – friendlies played within the International Match Calendar windows
  • Level 3 – Nations League Group Stage matches
  • Level 4 – Nations League play-offs and finals, Confederations' final competitions qualifiers (such as EURO Cup qualifiers), FIFA World Cup qualifiers
  • Level 5 – Confederations' final competitions matches - before quarter finals (such as Copa America, AFC Cup, EURO Cup etc)
  • Level 6 – Confederations' final competitions matches – quarter finals and later
  • Level 7 – FIFA World Cup matches - before quarter finals
  • Level 8 – FIFA World Cup matches - quarter finals and later

The system also considers the way a match was won (by penalties or not) or lost. In fact, a loss after a penalty shootout is considered to be equivalent to a draw in normal time.

Top 10 Ranked Countries as at end of 2021

End of 2020
Points end of 2021
1Belgium1st with 17801828.45
2Brazil3rd with 17431826.35
3France2nd with 17551786.15
4England4th with 16701755.52
5Argentina7th with 16421750.51
6Italy10th with 16251740.77
7Spain6th with 16451704.75
8Portugal5th with 16621660.25
9Denmark12th with 16141654.54
10Netherlands14th with 16091653.73


International Friendlies FAQS

How regular are international friendly matches held in football?

This isn't one fixed answer which applies to every year or every country. The frequency of fixtures depends on a number of variables which change from one year to another depending on other competitions.

What is an international friendly match?

It is an exhibition match played between the national teams of two different countries and whose result does not affect any other international competition.

Can clubs decide not to send players for international friendlies?

If the match falls between the specified time window for international matches, then a club must allow the player to represent his country. The club is not obliged to release a player for more than one international tournament in a calendar year.

Can you bet on international friendlies?

Most certainly. However, we suggest paying attention to the starting line-ups before hand since most coaches choose experimental line ups for friendlies and this could change the way you predict the match outcome.

Do international friendly matches affect FIFA rankings?

Yes, they do. Some friendlies might be worth more than others however they all affect the rankings. Only friendlies which are not recognised by FIFA have no affect on the FIFA rankings.


ThePuntersPage Final Say

Betting on international matches can be one of the most exciting types of bets since players on the pitch get a bit of an extra boost when representing their country. Betting on friendlies becomes a bit more interesting since they are seems as testing grounds for various players and new tactics – sometimes they're successful and sometimes they're not so you can expect a few surprises every now and again – the most important question is, which match will deliver the surprise result?