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Football: Ready for the Euros: England - one of the most exciting teams around.

‘This England team [is] turning into one of the most exciting teams around.’

Jan Aage Fjortoft

‘What's impressive about England right now is they're not just winning all these games, but winning them with serious comfort. ‘

Miguel Delaney

England’s free-scoring performances in qualifying for the European Championships next summer has made – is making – people sit up and take notice. Although England, broadly speaking, have always been respected throughout world football, national team displays have often been found wanting. Put another way, few have been overly concerned about playing the Three Lions.

That’s never stopping nations wanting to come and face England at Wembley (old or new) and everybody still takes great delight in beating them; it is still considered to be a noteworthy win. Nevertheless, playing England doesn’t instil some trepidation in either a World Cup or a Euro Championship game. But is that now changing? While England’s run to the semi-finals of the last World Cup was the furthest the team had been since reaching the same stage in Italia 1990, it is also worth pointing out that Harry Kane won the tournament’s Golden Boot for being the event’s top scorer. Kane figures highly in the list of players defenders don’t want to face and with good reason. His record since Russia puts him in the top bracket of forwards world-wide.

Above: Gareth Southgate (Kirill Venediktov)

England’s run to the semi-finals of the inaugural European Nations League a year after the World Cup might have seen them lose to a resurgent Netherlands but they did at least go one better than the year before. Losing to Belgium in the World Cup’s third/fourth place play-off meant the second defeat to the Belgians for England but the tournament did see England win a penalty shoot-out (against Colombia), as did the Nations league third/fourth place play-off earlier this year, 6-5 against Switzerland - even goalkeeper Jordan Pickford took one and scored.