Sad, sad news is reaching Pies this morning that Trifon Ivanov a man we simply presumed was immortal has passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 50.
As well as winning championships galore with CSKA Sofia, Ivanov was a member of the great Bulgarian 1994 World Cup squad, instantly recognisable by his wild mane of unkempt hair.
On this very day in 1920, Alfred Earnest Ramsey was born in Dagenham, then a rural village 10 miles east of Central London.
Ramsey later reminisced that he "lived for the open air from the moment I could toddle", and so it's perhaps fitting that it was out in the open air that he not only made his name and living, but also left a peerless and indelible impression on the English sporting landscape.
Not content with being halfway throughthe season of his career, Jack Butland has gone and proved that he's a top banana off the pitch too.
The Stoke goalkeeper has donated £5,000 of his own cash to the Great Britain women's deaf football team in order to help them fund their trip to the Deaf World Cup in Italy.
As was threatened by FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino a month or so ago, it would appear that the World Cupis set to be expanded from 32 teams to 40 from the 2026 tournament onwards.
This comes following discussions among the FIFA executive committee (ExCo), who seem hell bent on making football'smost exclusive tournament less.
Last night saw a rare Panini World Cup sticker album flogged at auction for seriousspondoolicks.
According to online auction site Catawiki, who were responsible for overseeing the sale, the first edition album eventually went for a hefty€2,400(approx£1,700), which is believed to be a world record amount for a football sticker album.
Last night's2018 World Cup qualifier between Argentina in Brazil had to be called off less than an hour before kick-off after Buenos Aires was engulfed in a torrential rainstorm and it's not hard to see why looking at the photos.
The pitch became increasingly waterlogged as the flood water rose to shin height outside El Monumental stadium, leaving thousands of fans stuck in traffic and/or unable to reach the turnstiles.
It's Wembley, it's the 11th February 1998, England are playing Chile in a friendly and, look, there's spotty little Michael Owen making history.
At 18 years and 59 days old, the nippy Liverpool striker became the youngest player to represent England in the 20th century.
He didn't score that night (Chile won 2-0 with Marcelo Salas scoring twice, starting with a belter of an opening goal) but Owen did go on to bag 40 goals in 89 international appearances for the Three Lions.
When England played Luxembourg at Wembley in the third game of their Euro1984 qualifying campaign the horribly mismatched rampage that ensued sent international scoringrecords a-tumbling.
The hosts ran out 9-0 winners on the night, but the goal-scoring avalanchewas to begin with Luxembourg's Marcel Bossi opening the scoring – the defender ricochetingthe ball in his own net in the 18th minute.
Shortly after securing themselves a spot at Euro 2016, a few of the Republic of Ireland lads Robbie Keane, Shane Long, Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan to be specific ventured on down to the Auld Dubliner pub for a few celebratory ales.
As is usually the case in Irish pubs, the well-greased quartet also treated the regularsto a good old fashioned sing-song.
On this very day in 2009, Thierry Henry became public enemy No.1 in theRepublic of Ireland after acontroversial incident that marred the closing stages of the second leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off against France in Paris.
Deep into extra-time, with the tie all-square, Henry flapped an errant hand at the ball not once but twice before squaring it forWilliam Gallas to nod homeand send the Republic crashing out of the reckoning.
On an emotional night at Wembley, a youthful England side produced a fine performance in an entertaining clash with France, with the hosts running out 2-0 winners.
England started brightly, with Dele Alli catching the eye in midfield and Wayne Rooney impressing on the right of a front three.
At 34 years of age, Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not getting many more chances (if any) of appearing in a major finals. But courtesy of Sweden's 4-3 aggregate win against neighbours Denmark in the play-offs, Euro 2016 will be graced by the great man's presence. In the second-leg of the play-offs on Tuesday night in Copehagen, the PSG superstar once again produced the goods, conjuring up an outstanding long-range free-kick which gaveKasper Schmeichel no chance in the Danish goal.
While we're not presentingthis as an official On This Day... post, Pies would like to thank Emil Navarro for giving us a nudge via email that it was on this very day in 1993 that England suffered the humiliation of conceding against part-time perma-minnows San Marino after just 8.3 seconds.
After muddling through a fairly dire campaign, England went into their final 1994 World Cup qualifier in Bologna needing to beat San Marino by at least seven clear goals to move above the Netherlands on goal difference.
Here's a lovely little moment captured from the terraces during the first half of the Republic of Ireland's play-off win over Bosnia & Herzegovina last night, which begins just as Jonathan Walters was preparing to dispatch his 24th-minute penalty.
With the Ireland subs temporarily stopping their warm-up to watch the spot-kick from the corner of the pitch, it just so happened that James McClean was blocking a supporter's view of the Bosnian goal.
At an electric Aviva Stadium on Monday night, the Republic of Ireland produced an outstanding display to beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 2-0 on the night and register a 3-1 aggregate scoreline, a result which sees the Boys in Green take their place in next summer's Euro 2016 finals in France.
View image | gettyimages.
England's U19 string cruised to a comprehensive 5-1 win over their Japanese counterparts atthe Man City academy on Sunday evening, with City young'n Patrick Roberts among the goals on his home patch.
Having already gone1-0 up during the early knockings, England had the chance to double the lead from the spot with just 20 minutes on the clock.
Between 2003 and 2012, striker Tamas Priskin plied his trade (with varying degrees of success) with a whole host of Championshipsides, including Watford, Preston, Ipswich, QPR, Swansea and Derby. However, on Sunday night, the Czech-born forward netted arguably the most important goal of his career for Hungary, in their Euro 2016 play-off 2nd leg against Norway.
I'm not sure if there is a more epic way to start a game of football than by playing the Star Wars theme. That's exactly what happened on Friday night when Poland hosted Iceland in a friendly game at the Warsaw National Stadium.
View image | gettyimages.com
Wedon't know exactlywhy the famous John Williams-penned music was chosen by the Polish powers-that-be.
An Arjen Robben brace gave Dutch fans something to cheer about again, against a Welsh side without star men Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
View image | gettyimages.com
Wwelsh boss Chris Coleman handed Leicester attackerTom Lawrence his first start while Dutch boss Danny Blind left out Robin van Persie as he looks to rebuild after a disastrous Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
The Republic of Ireland's hopes of making it to France 2016 remain in a healthy state after a hard-fought draw in a very foggyBilino Polje Stadium on Friday night.
View image | gettyimages.com
Ireland boss Martin O'Neill had to do without a whole host of first-choice players, including the injured Shane Long and suspended captain John O'Shea.
Spain gave Roy Hodgson's England side a bit of a lesson in Alicante on Friday night, with the classy hosts' possession football ultimately earning them a deserved 2-0 win.
View image | gettyimages.com
The Three Lions started with Michael Carrick back in midfield alongside Fabian Delph, with Phil Jones partnering Chris Smalling in the centre of defence.
Rock the Gaspar!
Despite some admirable huff and puff from England in the face of an acute class deficit, Spain cantered to a 2-0 friendly victory over Roy Hodgson's mob in Alicante on Friday night.
The opening goal took 72 minutes to arrive but bloody hell firewas it worth the wait Villarreal right-back Mario Gaspar scoring his second international goal on his second internationalappearance with an absolutely inspired volley on the turn.
'Twas a proud moment for Mr and Mrs Groothuizen last night as they watched their 19-year-oldson join the Ancient Masonic Order of the Goalscoring Goalkeepers© with a 90th minute equaliser in an U20 international friendly.
Trailing 2-1 against the Czech Republic and with the clock ticking over into stoppage time, Ajax youth team stopper Indy Groothuizen came lolloping up for a corner and promptly stuck a header past his opposite number to equalise at the death.
The tittle-tattle emanating fromChelsea this afternoon is that Gary Cahill is seriously considering leaving the club in a bid to rescue his flagging chances of going to Euro 2016 with England.
Having made just 12 league appearances so far this season, the 30-year-old centre-back has found himself bumped down behind John Terry and Kurt Zouma in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and is reportedly mulling overthe possibility of moving on.
Wales boss Chris Coleman had spoken of his hopes of dodging England in the EURO 2016 draw, but in Paris on Saturday evening, the Dragons were paired with Roy Hodgson's men in Group B.Russia and Slovenia join England and Wales in what's hardly the toughest of groups for the Three Lions.
The Republic of Ireland find themselves in Group E, along with Belgium,Italy andSweden, which hands Martin O'Neill's men a nightmare challenge.
Karim Benzema's participation at Euro 2016 has been plunged into considerable doubt this afternoon with the announcementthat he has been suspended by the French Football Federation until the ongoing investigation into a blackmail case involvingteammate Mathieu Valbuena reaches a conclusion.
The Real Madrid striker is tangled up in the case, having been charged and placed under formal investigation after admitting to police he had an involvement in the case which centres around an alleged sex tape.
With typical unassuming humility, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has honked that he single-handedly sent Denmark "into retirement" after scoring two goals in Sweden's Euro 2016 play-off second leg in Copenhagen last night.
The quip comes after the Danes had their pre-match merriment with the rumours that Ibrahimovic was to quit international football should Sweden fail to qualify for next summer's tournament.
Forget Jules Rimet, Michel Platini, Euro 1984, Zinedine Zidane and the 1998 World Cup, it is the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic himself who has put France on the footballing map. Well, that'saccording to the modest man himself.
View image | gettyimages.com
Ahead of Sweden's European Championship play-off against Denmark at the weekend, the PSG striker spoke of his desire to take part in next year's finals in France, saying;
I would love to play at the European Championship in France.
Kazakhstan's long wait to qualify for their firstmajor international tournament is going to go onfor a least another year after they managed to win just one of their ten Euro 2016qualifiers by signing off their campaign with a 1-0 dead rubber win over Latvia.
Prior to saidLatvia victory, The Hawks had won just two of their previous 20 games both being friendlies against fellow central Asian footballing super powersTajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Having decided to part company with Volker Finke a fortnight before their World Cup qualifying campaign began against Niger in mid-November, the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) are still in the process of hiring themselves a new head coach.
Obviously a bit short on applicants in the intervening weeks, Fecafoot have taken the unorthodox/slightly desperate step of advertising for a new coach both on their official website and through social media.
As you may have heard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has today been named African Footballer of the Year, thus bringing to an end Yaya Toure's run of four successive awards.
Unsurprisingly given his long history of blubbering petulant tantrums, Toure took Aubameyang's victory with all the grace and dignity of a gigantic spoiled man-toddler.
Following an incredible goal-filled start to the 2015/16 Bundesliga campaign, Borussia Dortmund'sPierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been namedConfederation of African Football's player of the year.
Embed from Getty Images
Voted for by African national team managers, the Gabonese hitman racked up 143 points, seven more than runner-up Yaya Touré.
Wayne Rooney has been named as the England Player of the Year for the second successive year after coming out on top in the annualsupporters' poll once again.
The Manchester United forwardnabbed 37% of the vote conducted by members of the England Supporters Club after trundling his way to overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton as the country's record international goalscorer in 2015.
Football's international tradition began in front of 4,000 spectators at the West Of Scotland Cricket Ground in Hamilton Crescent, Partick on 30th November 1872.
Those 4,000 spectators paid a shilling each and, after a 20-minute delay caused by heavy fog, were treated toa spirited contest that ended in a 0-0 draw.
Manchester City's teenage winger Bersant Celina has committed his international future to Kosovo despite having represented Norway at at Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-21 level.
The youngster, who made hisPremier League debut against Leicester City last weekend,was born in Kosovo but moved to Norway with his family at the age of two, where he proceeded to make it through the national youth ranks.
Currently wowing the Premier League (and silencing the critics) with his silky skills, Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil has been rewarded for his national team performances by picking up Germany's Player of the Year award for 2015.
Embed from Getty Images
The award is voted for by fans of the national team, with Özil picking up 51,000 votes (45.
Whatever you do lads, don't flap your arms like a chicken
One Northern Ireland fan has felt the full force of justice after being fined and banned for the heinous crime of performing The Birdie Song during a friendly win over Latvia back in November.
Appearing atBelfast Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, fanJames Burnsadmitted unlawfully going on to an area where football spectators are not allowed.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you're still searching for gift ideas with just four days left then you might have left it a little too late.
Still, Pies feel it's our civic duty to assist you in any way we can at this frantic time of year.
While trawling through Craigslist (don't ask), we stumbled across this fantastic 'England Stars' Airfix model kit that is up for grabs in Vancouver, Canada.
Terrible news is reaching us this morning that Honduran international Arnold Peralta has been shot dead in his hometown. He was just 26 years old.
According to BBC Latin America & Caribbean, the midfielder was on holiday in La Ceiba where he was gunned down in the car park of a shopping centre.
"I know Raheem, it makes no sense to me either"
Ahead ofthe friendly against England on Tuesday evening, French magazine L'Equipe whetted their whistle by concocting a "dream" Great Britain XI a composite team made up of their pick of the home nations' (excluding both Irish sides for reasons unbeknownst) finest talent.