Football fans were well and truly spoilt this summer with the European Championships - the 24-team tournament eventually and surprisingly won by Portugal and watched by a global TV audience of millions. Fortunately, the international football calendar sees little downtime and the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup is well underway.
In actual fact, qualifying started some time ago - although European nations only entered the action during the first week of September, around the globe the competition is in full swing. The qualifying campaign includes 209 teams incorporated in six different confederations and playing a grand total of 851 matches for the honour of becoming one of the 32 nations who will compete at the finals in 2018. Of course, hosts Russia have a guaranteed
By Dan Smith
Since England first entered the Euros in 1968, their relationship with the tournament has been closely associated with disaster culminating in possibly the greatest disappointment in English football history, losing to Iceland, a nation with a population 190 times smaller than ours.
During the Iceland match, the England players were poor and there did not appear to be a set gameplan. But as yet another pass was misplaced and another Harry Kane free kick blazed over the bar, was it really a surprise? It was not the first time that England had failed to live up to, sometimes even lowly, expectations.
Ever since the Three Lions first entered the European Championships in 1968 as favourites, after winning the World Cup only two years before,
Updated 30th June 2016 at 08:38 AM by Veritas
As preparations continue for Euro 2016, Portugalís visit to Wembley (Thursday 2 June) will inevitably revive memories of the Eusebio-inspired team that were beaten in the World Cup semi-final as England progressed to their greatest-ever triumph in 1966.
50 years on, the Three Lions squad will travel to France with the hope of earning similar legendary status as the Boys of í66, although those compiling Bethut's 2016 predictions for the Euro's suggest that reaching the semi-finals would be a more realistic achievement for Roy Hodgsonís young and enthusiastic charges.
France, of course, played a part in Englandís run to the final in 1966 as two goals from Roger Hunt clinched victory in the final group game.
After the controversial quarter-final
Updated 1st June 2016 at 04:25 PM by Veritas
As Louis Van Gaal takes his leave of Old Trafford, the veteran Dutch coach will reflect on his legacy of the latest batch of young Red Devils graduating through to the senior team at Manchester United.
The star pupil of the Class of í16 is undoubtedly Marcus Rashford who can cap his meteoric rise by making his England debut this week.
The Manchester-born striker made his United debut only three months ago and has made such an astounding impact that he has earned a call-up by Roy Hodgson for his Three Lions provisional squad for the summerís Euro 2016 championships in France.
It was as recently as 26 February that he burst on to the Old Trafford senior scene with such dramatic effect.
After Anthony Martial was injured in the pre-match
Updated 27th May 2016 at 08:24 PM by Veritas
Weíll soon know Englandís final 23 ahead of this summerís European Championships and itís likely that one of Roy Hodgsonís initial strikers will fail to make the cut. With Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford in top form, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are returning to full fitness and itís going to be a tough call.
Wayne Rooney may be Englandís all-time leading goal scorer but itís felt that Hodgson will follow Manchester Unitedís lead and play the skipper behind the main front man. That would leave a straight choice between Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy for the main centre forward role.
Of those two, Kane has five goals in 11 England appearances and seems more adept at carrying his club form through onto the international stage.
Updated 25th May 2016 at 09:17 AM by Veritas
Having suffered a broken fibula during pre-season, Jack Wilshere would have been delighted that his original diagnosis only ruled him out for a matter of months. However, as we find ourselves nearing the end of the season, the Arsenal midfielder has yet to play a single minute of first team football this year.
After almost nine months out with the injury, Wilshere is stepping up preparations for a return to first team duties with run outs for the Arsenal under 21 side. With England boss Roy Hodgson failing to rule out a place in his squad for Wilshere for the upcoming European Championships, the midfielder must now impress in the remainder of the campaign to be sure of his place.
Wilshere was undoubtedly one of his countryís strongest performers, with two goals
The hopes and expectations of an entire nation will once again surface as England begin preparation for Euro 2016, with Roy Hodgson's side hoping to do themselves proud in a tournament that could point towards a bright or dark future for the national team.
While the focus should remain on a Premier League season that has been the most unpredictable, yet dramatic and exciting, in recent history, the players will undoubtedly have one eye on this summer and will look to make an impression at their respective club in order to make the 23-man squad. It remains to be seen who Hodgson selects to represent England, but although the Three Lions are dark horses with Bookies.com to come back from France victorious, history would suggest that it will take a monumental effort to not only
Updated 25th February 2016 at 10:45 PM by 11v11
Well if you want to find out youíll have to risk staying up beyond midnight on Saturday evening to find out!
And if you do, will Englandís fairy Godmother deliver the team on a golden coach into the semi-finals of the Womenís World Cup or will it all turn messy like over-ripe seasonal vegetables?
England take on the host nation Canada, always a difficult task in major competitions, in Vancouver in a game to be screened live on BBC 1. Finally, some proper recognition for the status of the event and the performances of the Lionesses.
Interestingly, the man plotting to stop England in their tracks has his own fairy-tale dream, which is to coach his beloved Newcastle United.
John Herdman, a lad from County Durham, began his coaching career at
Englandís Women achieved their first World Cup target when safely negotiating their way out of Group F.
They started rather conservatively in the opening game of the group, going down narrowly 1-0 to the fancied French but bounced back with 2-1 victories over both Mexico and Columbia.
The victory over Mexico courtesy of goals from Fran Kirby and Karen Carney and the win over Columbia thanks to strikes form Karen Carney and Fara Williams from the penalty spot.
The positive performances in the latter two group games provide optimism for the Lionesses as they move into the knockout stages of the competition.
However, they have landed themselves a tough challenge as they take on Norway, runners-up in Group B, at the Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa
As the old clichť goes Ďone game at a timeí or more precisely three games to hopefully see us past the Group Stage.
England open up on Tuesday 9 June with a tough test against France, followed by a bit more of a journey into the unknown on Saturday 13 June when they face Mexico, concluding on Wednesday 17 June when Colombia are their opponents.
England couldnít face a much trickier task kicking off against France, as recent results have favoured our old foes from across the Channel.
France have accounted for England in the last two major tournaments Ė winning a tense penalty shoot-out in the 2011 Quarter-finals before winning convincingly, 3-0, in a Euro 2013 group game.
Incidentally England drew 1-1 with Mexico in those group stages
Updated 5th June 2015 at 09:41 AM by Veritas