In a normal World Cup year, players will get a long break following the conclusion of the tournament. And time off for the end-of-year holidays in all but England among Europe's major soccer-playing nations.
This is no normal World Cup year.
There is no long break and no time off at holidays, at least in two other major leagues.
On Wednesday, just two and a half days after he scored a hat trick (and also converted his shootout attempt) in France's heroic but unsuccessful comeback bid against Argentina in the World Cup, Kylian Mbappe was back at training with Paris Saint-Germain.
After five weeks away with Les Bleus, Mbappe returned to the Camp des Loges, PSG's training center.
For the first time ever, France's Ligue 1 will play during the holiday season, resuming next week with games on Tuesday and Wednesday and also on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2.
Spain's LaLiga, which also usually breaks at the end of the year, will resume with games next Thursday.
The Premier League will be the first of Europe's big 5 leagues to return to action with its traditional Boxing Day schedule. Italy's Serie A (Jan. 4 restart) and Germany's Bundesliga (Jan. 20) chose to wait until the start of the New Year to resume play.
All five leagues will have to make up for time off this fall. Here is the number of matchdays Europe's big 5 leagues will have played as of Dec. 31 and the number they had played at the end of 2021:
• England, Premier League: 18 (20)
• France, Ligue 1: 16 (19)
• Germany, Bundesliga: 15 (17)
• Italy, Serie A: 15 (19)
• Spain, LaLiga: 15 (19)
U.S. World Cup players in the English Championship (Josh Sargent and Ethan Horvath) and Scottish Premiership (Cameron Carter-Vickers) have returned to action. Haji Wright's Antalyaspor won its Turkish Cup game on Tuesday on Wright's penalty kick and resumes league play on Friday.
Next week should be a holiday treat for American fans as many of the U.S. World Cup stars will be back in action:
Monday, Dec. 26. Crystal Palace vs. Fulham (Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson) on Peacock (10 a.m. ET). Palace's Chris Richards is healthy again after missing the World Cup.
Tuesday, Dec. 27. Chelsea (Christian Pulisic) vs. Bournemouth on USA Network (12:30 p.m. ET). On Ream's Indirect podcast last week, Pulisic said he was ready to finish the season with Chelsea. "But you know how things work in football, things change. Anything can happen."
Wednesday, Dec. 28. Clermont vs. Lille (Tim Weah) on beIN Sports (1 p.m. ET). On Wednesday, Weah started at left back (!) and was involved in two of the goals as Les Dogues shocked Serie A leader Napoli, 4-1, in Italy in a friendly.
Wednesday, Dec. 28. Leeds United (Brenden Aaronson) vs. Manchester City on USA Network (3 p.m. ET). Tyler Adams has been taking an extended rest as he shakes off a calf injury suffered at the World Cup. He is suspended for the Man City game but should return on New Year's Eve at Newcastle United.
Saturday, Dec. 31. Villarreal vs. Valencia (Yunus Musah) on ESPN+ (8:15 a.m. ET). Villarreal will return to its Estadio De La Ceramica (closed since the end of last year for renovations) for the derby clash on New Year’s Eve.