Gareth Southgate: “You know they’ve got some very good forwards [Arkadiusz] Milik, [Piotr] Zielinski, [rzysztof] Piatek – they’re a good side with some good players.” Photograph: Gent Shkullaku/AFP

Robert Lewandowski’s absence for Poland will not lull Gareth Southgate into a false sense of security as England prepare for a step up in quality in a(...)

Steven Davis: will make his record-breaking 126th appearance for Northern Ireland when they take on Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park. Photograph: William Cherry/Presseye/Inpho

Steven Davis wants only one thing from his record-breaking 126th appearance for Northern Ireland – a victory over Bulgaria. The 36-year-old midfield(...)

Northern Ireland defend Jamal Lewis in action for his club Newcastle United: he is a doubt for his country’s World Cup qualifier against Italy. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough will make a late decision on whether to risk Jamal Lewis in Thursday’s opening World Cup qualifier against Ita(...)

Michael O’Neill: his side have kept seven clean sheets in their qualifying group and haven’t lost a competitive game at home in four years. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Imagese

Such is Michael O’Neill’s respect for Germany, who have not lost an away World Cup qualifier in 83 years, that he organised a 10 v six training sessi(...)

Manager Michael O’Neill admitted Aaron Hughes may also miss the play-offs were Northern Ireland to reach them. Photograph: William Cherry/Inpho

Aaron Hughes has been ruled out of Northern Ireland’s final two World Cup qualifiers this week, and would be a doubt were they to make the play-offs n(...)

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Colin Doyle receives some light-hearted attention from his team-mates. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The first time a friendly between these two countries on American soil was announced back in 1996, the standard gag was that it was all a set up for U(...)

Martin O’Neill is hopeful that James McCarthy will be fit to at least face Austria in the 2018 World Cup qualifier next month. Photo: Ross Byrne/Inpho

Suggestions of James McCarthy’s omission from the Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifier against Austria game proved premature on Monday but Martin(...)

 Gianluigi Buffon: “I blew €20m, it went up in smoke but I safeguarded the livelihoods of 1,200 families.”  Photograph:  Claudio Villa/Getty Images

A small but significant piece of football history should unfold at the Stadio Renzo Barbera on Friday night. Italy’s World Cup qualifier against Al(...)

Dundalk will begin the defence of their title at home to Shamrock Rovers. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

It is, as that old gag goes, a case of déjà vu all over again. Five years on from their last attempt at a 10-team Premier Division was abandoned, t(...)

Wayne Rooney  during an England  training session at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent on Thursday. Photograph:  Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Daniel Sturridge is set to start England’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Friday night, with Wayne Rooney recalled in a No 10 role for a game(...)

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