Euro 2020 begins, one year later than planned, on Friday evening when Italy take on Turkey in Rome, one of 11 host venues for a tournament that will go down in history regardless of the action on the pitch.
Delayed for one year by a global pandemic and spread across a whole continent, the European Championships will be unique in so many ways and even more so should England win the competition for the very first time.
The Three Lions will have the biggest home advantage with all three of their group stage games being played at Wembley, home of the semi-finals and final and an exciting group of players who are now playing more reguarly both for top Premier League clubs and at the business end of Uefa competitions.
Their build-up to the tournament has been less smooth than Gareth Southgate would have hoped, the manager unable to field anything close to the side that will take on Croatia in the tournament opener in either of the two warm-up friendlies, but after such a hectic and unusual year in the football world, none of the countries looking to win the Euros can claim to be fully refreshed and raring to go.
Felt good to be back out there with the lads 💪🏴 pic.twitter.com/dsUiSR6Dea— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 10, 2021
Social media posts from the FA paint a picture of Southgate's side at ease with each other and together as a group, qualities that can take a team far in an international tournament.
But will another three years of experience mean that the key moments and crucial decisions within high-pressure games go England's way this time?