An ex-Saint has ruined my plans for next summer, but a current one may just have sorted out yours.

In Dublin, 37-year-old Anders Svensson popped up to beat David Forde at the near post and condemn Ireland to a 2-1 defeat which pretty much kills of any hopes of the boys in green getting on a plane to Brazil next summer.

To make it worse, I even have a signed shirt of his from 2003. Still, can always use an extra rag. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

About 300 miles away at Wembley however, Rickie Lambert Esq. was busy scoring and creating goals against a rather limited Moldova.

This may have led to a number bemoaning the fact that it's only Moldova and that Lambert is still not good enough for international duty, but the fact remains he is scoring goals in an England shirt.

Without his contribution in three of the four goals England scored, the result would have been rather more underwhelming - and in international football, you don't get to play the big boys without dispatching the minnows first.

Lambert's call up by Roy Hodgson has had a remarkable effect across the country. Since I was a small boy, all the English football fans I know have always put their club ahead of their country.

Personally, I put this down to firstly the clever marketing of the Premier League over the last 21 years, the bloating of the European Cup into the Champions League and finally the constant overhyping of the Three Lions (Golden Generation, anyone?).

In England, England is no longer the pinnacle of the game. Yet, Rickie Lambert seems to have reminded people that it should be.

His progress from the fourth tier to International football seems to have galvanised belief that it is possible to survive the influx of foreign talent and make an impression on the closed shop that is the England national team.

Suddenly, Champions League experience is not a pre-requisite to play international football - lest we forget, Gary Hooper, now at Norwich, has Champions League experience at Celtic, but I don't see a clamour for his call up.

In Southampton especially, more people suddenly seem concerned, even emotionally invested in what England can do. That's what international football should be about. Petty club rivalries are left at the door for the greater good as all and sundry come together in hope and expectation. 

I had the good fortune to go Euro 2012 last year. The football was abysmal. Giovanni Trapattoni's atrocious tactics and gameplans saw Ireland humiliated. Regardless, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Poznan, a city of 600,000 people was invaded by 50,000 Irishmen and women there for the craic and unlikely dreams of glory.

Ignoring the financial realities for a moment, it now looks like I won't have the opportunity to repeat in Rio the delights of Gdansk - in reality, it just means I won't have the chance to sell a kidney to fund such a trip. Every cloud and all that.

Should England make it however and you're lucky enough to be able to afford it, I can only urge you to look at heading to Brazil next summer.

If however you, like most people, don't have a spare few grand to throw away on a football jolly, throw yourself into International football.

Enjoy the dreams, wallow in the disappointment, but above all remember how Rickie Lambert made it acceptable to care about your country once again.