England Reach 1,000 But What Does The Future Hold?

Last updated : 28 September 2019 By Three Lions

England will play their 1,000th senior international against Montenegro in November and the Football Association plan to mark the Wembley occasion by inviting as many former Three Lions to the game.

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A place at Euro 2020 will probably already have been secured by then and another big crowd will be in attendance to see if Gareth Southgate’s exciting current crop can add another few goals to their qualification tally.

Although he will be hoping to be at the helm as England lift a major trophy, Southgate has perhaps already left his greatest legacy by putting the national team back at the forefront of the game in this country.

The failure to make a mark at major tournaments, the low-key nature of qualification schedules and the ever-growing power of the club game looked to be an unstoppable force after Euro 2016 but the glorious summer of 2018 (both in Russia and at home) has stemmed the tide in that regard.

Qualification matches are not going to get much more glamourous but the swashbuckling nature of this team means that attendances since the World Cup have been excellent.

So, England are in a good position but what about the international game as a whole as the big clubs continue to press for a more lucrative Champions League and FIFA try and introduce an expanded world club competition?

The spectacle of Russia 2018 went a long way to reminding people why the international game could still thrill but can a fragmented Euro 2020 and the new ground that is a winter World Cup in Qatar (no beer-soaked, sun-drenched party in Hyde Park in January) pull off the same trick?

A 48-team tournament in the USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026 has the potential to be the biggest sporting occasion ever but who knows what shape the game will take between now and then.