It is said that international football never sits still for a minute nowadays and this is hard to deny if you consider all it entails, from match organisation to the training of young players, not to mention financial matters and the modernisation of infrastructure.
But as the days get steadily longer and warmer, and nature shows new signs of life, so does international football. The arrival of spring lifts the spirits of football fans even more than most, with the added excitement of European club football building to its climax. From February, when the competitions resume and the knockout stages begin, the tension steadily mounts, peaking at the finals in May, which, this year in London and Dublin, should once again more than live up to the fans' expectations.
Meanwhile, in March, the national teams resume their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaigns as they seek to book their places in the final round in Poland and Ukraine. On a related note, good news emerged from the latest meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which agreed to extend the experiment with two additional assistant referees to include UEFA EURO 2012, which will undoubtedly help ensure quality refereeing at this flagship tournament.
Then, as spring turns to summer, we have another two exciting events to look forward to. First, the final round of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark, where will see some of Europe's most promising young footballers in action. Then, also in Europe but on an even wider scale, the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. Even if the women's game does not single-handedly shape the future of football, this summer will no doubt provide another reminder that it is going to be a major player.
With all this to look forward to, we certainly have every reason to be full of the joys of spring.
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