You could sense the fierce atmosphere inside Wembley, whilst the teams were still in the tunnel, and even through a television screen.

Then the national anthems commenced and 25,000 away fans roared their way through 'Flower of Scotland' to transform the capital of Great Britain into a Scottish fortress.

In a climate where many managers bemoan the international friendly, this is the sort of occasion that players and fans relish. The sheer rivalry and will to win between England and Scotland made last night's game such a great event.

The game was played at a high tempo, and will leave players match sharp when they come to play for their Premier League teams this weekend. And the atmosphere made the game feel like a qualifier, rather than the likes of Hungary or Sweden.

These fixtures give fans of both sides a real sense of national identity, and that leads to them cheering on their team more passionately. The success of last night's friendly begs the question: Should the home nations championship return?

The annual sporting event between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was stopped in 1984, after a century of inter-British footballing competition. But reverting to the past could be the way forward in terms of providing England friendlies that fans actually care about.

I know that the recent Carling Nations Cup wasn't a huge success, but the fact that all of those games were played in Dublin was a contributing factor to that failure.

A return to the old format, with possibly the Republic of Ireland included too, would see five teams that are all capable of beating each other, playing in games that they really want to win. This would be a breath of fresh air from the normal humdrum internationals that we often see.

The close proximity of all of the countries would see little travel, avoiding risks of jet lag when players return to their clubs.

And if England return to the competition, they would become a big scalp that all of the others would want to claim. 

With so many internationals already played nowadays, British solidarity when it comes to friendlies could produce more competitive outfits when it comes to qualification matches.

 

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Topics:
England Football
Scotland Football
Football
Internationals