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This summer sees England barred entry from Europe's biggest football party, the Euro 2008 Championships. Fortunately this Friday sees the release of UEFA EURO 2008 - the competition's tie-in FIFA game - which offers a brilliant new mode to alleviate the misery of England fans.
It's called Captain Your Country - the devs have already given us the lowdown on exactly how it works - and it's excellent. It takes the Be A Pro mode of FIFA 08 and beefs it out so you can play through the entire Euro 2008 campaign. It demands real tactical thinking and team work, and isn't just about tricking past defender after defender to score. Though that's really fun. You can develop your own player, push into the senior squad, earn the captaincy... All the best boy's own football fantasies are catered for.
So how does the Captain Your Country mode actually play out? Allow us to take you on our own fantasy UEFA journey...
Making our mark
First, you need to create a player - from winger to ball-watching defender. And a messy hairdo, natch. You can choose a real-life player, but it's more fun making your own.
Next, you pick three other real-life pros, who act as rivals for you within the squad. They're CPU controlled in single player, but you can play a whole competition in multiplayer - and in multiplayer you can all create your own player. Got it? Okay...
The first task is to show that you're worth more than a bag of Crouchys, by proving your skill in a series of B International fixtures. Like us, here, scoring our first ever England goal.
Followed by our first ridiculous celebration dance. Sweet.
McClaren (yep, still England manager in this fantasy football world) doesn't seem impressed.
After notable matches, you'll get a quick progress report. We've made a good first impression, but we'll have to watch that our team mates aren't outperforming us on the pitch.
Fortunately, our first performance was so good that we've already got the armband! Come on!
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