We’re closing in on the best part of the footballing calendar – a World Cup summer.
You’re probably allocating time in the coming days and weeks to pick out which bars you’ll be watching all the games, which beer gardens have televisions, and how many times you can watch matches in Wetherspoons before people get sick of ordering you pints through the app.
However, all that is useless if you haven’t made one other big consideration.
This tournament is in Russia, not Brazil, which means the games will kick off earlier in the day. Especially during the group stage, with double-headers kicking off at the very work-unfriendly hours of 1pm and 4pm.
Unless you work nights, or have a very football-friendly boss, or are have flexible hours, you’ll probably need to book some time off work to see some of the more enticing early games.
In fact, if you’re a Luis Suarez fan, you’ll need a lot of time off – all three of Uruguay’s group games happen during work hours if you’re in the 9-5 club, and if they win their group and make it to the quarter-finals then that game will start at 3pm.
Still, you don’t want to waste half-days on less appealing games, so we should be grateful to football writer Steven Chicken, who has produced this guide to which days to take off (or half-days, if your work is okay with that) if you’re desperate to see certain games.
In short, you’re looking at the afternoons of 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28 June, and 2, 3 and 6 July. That’s 14 half days - and just 7 full days of holiday. A small price to pay to watch every minute of the World Cup.
You probably want to get in early though, seeing as soon enough half of your office will be attempting to book the same afternoons off and your boss will get suspicious.
Still, that’s only half the battle. There are at least three other days you’ll want to keep in mind.
England play Tunisia on 18 June (a Monday night), Panama on the following Sunday and Belgium on the evening of the 28th. Chances are you’ll want to at least consider taking the following day to recover – especially if you anticipate celebrating/drowning your sorrows (delete as applicable) following the final group game.
Don’t say we don’t look out for you.