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.
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.
It's back - the greatest club competition on the planet and the 2014/15 season promises to be one of the most exciting yet... the draw for the group stages has just taken place and the excitement surrounding how the English clubs will fare this season is paramount. Let's take a look at who they'll be up against...
It might not seem like it now but in around a month's time Manchester City supporters will look at this season as a positive campaign and with Pellegrini crucially now more aware of the dangers of having a rigid idea in mind of trying to outplay every team in the Premier League there will be yet more improvements next season.
Winning it is no longer seen as much of an achievement, especially for clubs who would usually identify themselves as Champions League level sides. Teams competing in the old UEFA Cup were the second best team in their respective countries. Now, however, competing clubs from bigger countries could be fifth, sixth or seventh best and in the case of relegated domestic cup winners like Wigan or Birmingham City, could even be from lower divisions.