What we didn't expect was for the qualifiers to become something more than a formality. The big teams may still qualify with ease, (four more wins, all their home games, should be enough to see England qualify), but the competition for those extra places has brought life back into what was quite a dull part of international football.
Yogi Berra, the famous baseball coach once said, "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." Scotland is free to choose its identity; but the rhetoric in support of the Yes vote conflates two very different courses of action, which are at odds with one another.
The Left should be out of the blocks quickly when the debate over devolution for England begins in earnest after the probable no vote next Thursday. And we should shape the campaign for a new settlement in our own image - an image that draws on every democratic and radical movement England has produced from the Levellers and Diggers to the Chartists, from the early Christian socialists to the Jarrow marchers, from Tolpuddle to the Suffragettes, from Wat Tyler to the pioneers of the New Unionism.
England go off to the Euros and rather than the media being overly optimistic or pessimistic they choose a new tack of just focusing on it being the youngest England squad ever. Alan Hansen's famous comment "you can't win anything with kids" is reiterated thousands of times. Unfortunately, in this case the Scot is right as another quarter-final exit beckons.
With the relationship between Sam Allardyce, the West Ham board and fans forced to near breaking point at the start of the year the future at Upton Park didn't look too bright. The club stuck by the manager and Allardyce eventually steered the Hammers to a 13th placed finish, but rumours of unrest behind the scenes persisted going into the summer.
England's top tier is regarded by many as the best in world football, so the chance for any player to ply their trade in the Premier League is often too hard to turn down... adjusting to the rigours of English football is often easier said than done, there were plenty that impressed in the opening round of matches.
In the first wave of 'problem families', 32% had a disability or long term illness and 82% had a problem related to education, while 15% had children with a problem of substance abuse. This suffering can not be combatted by slashing budgets, but investing time, care and resources into tackling the root causes of these problems, as well as their aftermath.
What happens if England win the World Cup next year? That's right; as the men's World Cup enters a four-year hiatus, the women's World Cup is still to come... Women's sport makes up just 2% of all sports coverage in the UK. It's a shocking statistic, but I hope it's something that can change over time... There is an appetite for the game and in some countries women's football is huge.
If you have particularly excitable or boisterous kids with short attention spans, there are plenty of educational attractions that will keep even the most hyperactive child amused this summer. Here are some fun, child friendly days out in the UK where there's plenty to learn about: but there's also plenty to see, play with and do.
Villa have won 30.5% of the 59 league matches Vlaar has started since signing in 2012, compared to just 11.8% of the 17 he missed, so it's of great importance Lambert convinces him to remain in the Midlands. That, though, is easier said than done when considering the teams taking an interest in him.
The transition between the Championship and Premier League is a tricky one, and one that Leicester, Burnley and QPR will be looking to cope with this season following their promotion into England's top-flight... Here we look at five that impressed in England's second tier last season hoping to prove that they can make the grade at the very top.
Buying a replica club shirt is only the beginning of a long list of expenses that go along with being seen as a loyal supporter... football inflation is rising faster than the Government's Consumer Price Index... One thing's for sure, fans are still paying out to show their allegiance, no matter what the cost of being a football supporter is.