As Brazil prepare to play Italy in Felipao’s second friendly match on Thursday night, here’s a reminder of why such games are taking place in Geneva, a home stadium for neither country.
Among the reasons: Time, money, and globalisation, as I say in my Reuters story from last year.
“It’s a trend,” says the headline and it’s not wrong.
It’s increasingly common for two international teams to face off in a third country.
The matchups and venues often sound completely random. Ireland have played Italy in Belgium and Oman in England. England have faced Brazil in Qatar and Italy in Switzerland. Argentina have taken on Nigeria in Bangladesh and Venezuela in India.
At least Brazil vs. Italy is more attractive than Brazil against Iraq in Sweden or Brazil against Japan in Poland.
Here’s the most iconic image of Pele, taken from the mural that surrounds Santos’s training ground. For no other reason than it’s cool.