It was a baking summers afternoon in Manchester and the unforgiving heat hung heavy in the Creative Spark studio, the only sound a gentle whir of a desk fan overlaid with the staccato rhythm of mouse clicks and key taps as the team worked diligently. As the clock’s hands created a fleeting but perfect horizon, there began a shuffling of feet and a small but ever-growing furore around the sofa. Delicious snacks and fine beverages were brought forth from their staging area in the kitchen, the electronics were tuned to The Beeb and the last few members of staff, still thus far engrossed in their work, were gently encouraged to join the rest of the team to witness what could have been England’s last grasping hope at planetary football domination for the next four years. Luckily, we won.

Roll on Sunday and our first match of the knockout stages!