2011 International Football Calendar
The new year is here, and it’s tempting to think of 2011 as a bit of a let-down in terms of international football. After all, 2010 was the big one, the World Cup year, and now we enter the long three year hiatus of World Cup football before Brazil 2014. But there is, of course, far more to the international game than just the World Cup. Many of these tournaments involve youth sides, but there’s also plenty of senior action and we do have World Cups for the women’s sides plus for two youth cohorts. Here are all of the major tournaments going on in 2011, in chronological order. Already completed tournaments are listed at the bottom:
Tournaments Coming This Year or Already in Progress
2011 South American Youth Championship
When: 16 January-6 February, 2011
What: An important youth qualifying tournament for South America, the top four finishers here earn invites to both the 2011 U-20 World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games. The top two teams also earn spots at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
More information: South American Youth Championship | Fixtures and Results
2011 Nations Cup
When: 8-9 February; 24-29 May, 2011
Where: Dublin, Ireland
What: A resurrection of the old home nations tournament, the Nations Cup pits Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales against each other with long-argued bragging rights at stake.
More information: Nations Cup Fixtures | Travel to Dublin for the Nations Cup
2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
When: 14-27 February, 2011
What: 12 youth teams from around North and Central America will compete for the continental title, with the semifinalists also getting the four CONCACAF spots at the 2011 U-17 World Cup later this year.
Euro 2012 Qualifying
When: March, June, September and October 2011
Where: All over Europe
What: Eight of the twelve qualifying matchdays for Euro 2012 occur this year, stretched all over the calendar. Several of the nine groups are still quite open, and there are sure to be more surprises on the road to Polkraine.
More information: Euro 2012 Qualifying | Euro Qualifying Standings
Africa Cup of Nations 2012 Qualifying
When: March, June, September and October 2011
Where: All over Africa
What: The beginning of the qualifying process has been a mixed bag for the established stars of African football, with Egypt and Nigeria stumbling out of the blocks and Ivory Coast sailing smoothly so far. But there’s a long way to go still, and these remaining matches will be the ones determining who will be headed to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea early next year.
More information: Africa Cup of Nations 2012
2011 UEFA U-17 European Championships, Elite Round
When: 9-30 March, 2011
Where: 7 host nations around Europe (Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Belgium, France and Hungary)
What: The latest round of the U-17 continental championship sees the 28 remaining teams separated into 7 groups, with the winners joining hosts Serbia in the finals later in the year.
2011 African Youth Championship
When: 18 March-1 April, 2011
What: With the qualification rounds over, only eight teams remain in the under-20 championship of Africa. Four of these will earn invites to the 2011 U-20 World Cup.
2011 South American U-17 Championship
When: 20 March-10 April, 2011
What: The 10 nations of CONMEBOL will all send their U-17 teams to Ecuador, hoping for a title or at least a semifinal appearance, which brings with it an invitation to the 2011 U-17 World Cup.
2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship
When: 3-17 April, 2011
What: Twelve teams will compete not only for the youth title of North and Central America, but also for four invites to the 2011 U-20 World Cup.
2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup
When: 5-25 June, 2011
Where: USA (13 venues around the country)
What: The Gold Cup is the continental cup for North and Central America. The USA, Mexico and Canada will be joined by four Caribbean nations and five countries from Central America, with the winner qualifying for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, an important warmup for the next World Cup.
More information: CONCACAF Gold Cup
2011 UEFA U-21 European Championships
When: 11-25 June 2011
What: U-21 Euro 2011 not only provides a showcase for tomorrow’s European talent, but also acts as an Olympic qualifier, with the top three teams headed to London 2012.
2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup
When: 18 June-10 July, 2011
What: 24 youth teams from around the globe will gather in Mexico, and the scouts will follow. Always an interesting look at some of the stars of tomorrow.
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
When: 26 June-17 July, 2011
What: The sixth Women’s World Cup, this event will bring together the top 16 women’s football teams in the world. The hosts Germany will be heavily favored, but the English, Swedish, Brazilians and Americans will be among the challengers looking for an upset.
2011 Copa America
When: 1-24 July, 2011
What: The 43rd edition of the South American continental cup will be the most important tournament of the season for Argentina, who have won 14 Copa America titles, but haven’t won since 1993 and have watched Brazil take four of the last five titles. Especially as hosts, the pressure on them to take back the Copa will be massive.
2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup
When: 29 July-20 August, 2011
What: If you don’t want to wait a few years for the U-17 World Cup stars to grow up, you can see the best young stars about to explode onto the world stage here in Colombia. In 2007, this tournament gave us a peek at now famous names like Sergio Aguero, Jozy Altidore, Angel Di Maria, Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez and more.
More information: U-20 World Cup
2014 World Cup Qualifying Draw
When: 30 July, 2011
What: There really is no rest for the wicked. Halfway through the year after the World Cup, we get the qualifying draw for the next one. Once the various continental groups are set, we can begin the long process of figuring out just what Brazil 2014 is going to look like.
2011 All-Africa Games
When: 3-18 September, 2011
What: The 10th edition of the All-Africa Games include 23 sports. The football tournament will face the hosts Mozambique against seven other sides that will qualify during the year.
Tournaments Already Completed
2011 AFC Asian Cup
When: 7-29 January, 2011
What: The continental cup for Asia, this tournament brings together the east and west sides of the world’s largest continent for a three-week party of football at the site of the 2022 World Cup.
More information: Asian Cup | Asian Cup Results | Asian Cup Squads
2011 African Under-17 Championship
Champions: Burkina Faso
When: 8-22 January, 2011
What: As well as playing for the continental U-17 trophy, the eight finalists will be fighting to secure four spots at the U-17 World Cup later in the year.
More information: African U-17 Championship
2011 Copa Centroamericana
When: 14-23 January, 2011
What: Formerly called the UNCAF Nations Cup, this tournament decides which five Central American countries qualify for the 2011 Gold Cup and a chance to claim dominance over CONCACAF.
More information: Copa Centroamericana | Travel to the Copa Centroamericana
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