THE start to my international reporting duties started well at Manchester airport as breakfast arrived just as I returned from ordering at the bar.

The flight was packed with England fans of all denominations, all in good spirits, looking forward to Prague and Sofia.

We were met at Prague airport by friendly English police and pointed in the right direction.

The FA had nominated the Hilton hotel in the old town for ticket collection on the afternoon before the match. and this proved useful as we had to do a walking tour of the old town trying to find the place.

Still we got to see lots of sites we otherwise wouldn’t have.

On the day of the match, we treated ourselves to a 24-hour tram pass for about £4 and decided to do a recce of the Sinobo Stadium.

It took about 30 minutes from right outside the hotel. The rest of the day was spent soaking up the history in Wenceslas Square before a superb lunch of roast duck, cranberries red cabbage and what can only be described as fried potato sausages. This was in U Fleku, the oldest beer hall in Prague where they have been brewing their own ale since 1499, so they know what they’re doing.

When we got to the stadium in the evening, there was a great atmosphere in the fanzone around the ground.

They were giving out free programmes and free crisps and we shared a beer with two Mexican Czech fans, one of whom turned out to be from the same home town as Jared Borgetti.

It’s a small world, which got even smaller when we got in the ground as among the 3,500 England fans from all over, we were sat next to two other Bolton fans, blogger Theo Ogden and his dad, Stephen.

The atmosphere was brilliant with the flags of many clubs' backing in the away end.

The National Anthem was sung with great gusto, even if the band was out of tempo. I was so excited, I could have crushed a grape.

The match started well for England as Harry Kane tucked away a penalty right under our noses.

Unfortunately,  the Czech Republic hadn’t read the script and they equalised soon after and went on to be the better side and deserved winners.

Never mind, my wait to see a beloved team in white goes on.

It’s on to Sofia now for the England fans by whatever route they’ve managed to find. We’re flying via Amsterdam.