If you can't wait to get your hands on the next instalment of EA's FIFA series, which incidentally shall be fighting it out head-to-head with Pro Evo 4 later in 2004, then you'll be pleased to hear about the arrival of Euro 2004. Essentially FIFA 2004.5, the game delivers another slice of the company's flagship footie sim, complete with the obligatory gameplay tweaks and what have you, but is obviously geared to tie in with the upcoming Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal.
And tie in it certainly does - with EA's unprecedented authenticity - giving you the chance to take control of any one of the event's 51 European nations and either play friendly matches or embark on the whole tournament itself, going from qualifying, to play-offs and into the finals themselves. Which is always good news to us English, as it's more often than not the closest we're likely to get to any kind of crowning glory.
With regard to the gameplay, Euro 2004 introduces a number of new elements to the usual FIFA proceedings, not least with the inclusion of injury tracking and suspensions (crying Gazza's anyone?). As well as this, a new dynamic morale system tracks players' morale, which fluctuate based on individual and team performances and affect player abilities on the field.
If you're eagerly awaiting the upcoming tournament then Euro 2004 is just the ticket, enabling you to get even more involved in the event and also giving all you would-be soccer stars out there the chance to get in on the action for yourselves. After all, those lager-fuelled evenings in front of the local pub's big screen are always so much better when finished off with some more localised footie action with your mates.