Action from the 2013 Victory Shield has already begun, and there's never been a better time to catch all of the action from one of English football's most tradition-rich tournaments.
U-16 national teams fill the annual tournament, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland battling for the trophy that has been elusive as of late for each team not named England—who have won the event outright for the last seven years.
The tournament always boasts some of the best young talent in world football, and this year is no exception. Many of these teams feature elite talent.
Here's a look at all of the scheduling information for the tournament.
|2013 Victory Shield Schedule|
|England 1, Wales 0||Oct. 4, 2013||FT||-|
|Northern Ireland 3, Scotland 0||Oct. 17, 2013||FT||-|
|Wales 2, Scotland 2||Oct. 31, 2013||FT||-|
|England vs. Northern Ireland||Nov. 8, 2013||7:30 p.m. GMT, 2:30 p.m. ET||Sky Sports 1|
|Wales vs. Northern Ireland||Nov. 21, 2013||7:30 p.m. GMT, 2:30 p.m. ET||Sky Sports 1|
|Scotland vs. England||Nov. 29, 2013||7:30 p.m. GMT, 2:30 p.m. ET||Sky Sports 1|
You can't mention Victory Shield without thinking England, and vice versa.
The English have won the event 34 times—by far the most among the four national teams—and are currently riding a seven-year streak of winning the tournament outright.
This year looks no different, as manager Kenny Swain and England got out to a promising start in early October with a 1-0 victory over Wales. Chelsea's Charlie Wakefield scored the match's only goal in the 35th minute.
With a Friday matchup against Northern Ireland looming, however, England could really be tested. Northern Ireland topped Scotland by the score of 3-0 in their opening match.
Leighton James, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale aren't coming through the pipeline for Wales this year, and it doesn't look like they have anyone of that pedigree to lead the nation to victory.
Despite being the last team to prevent England's reign—they were co-champions in 2005-06—they didn't threaten them this year, losing 1-0 to open the Victory Shield.
Two crucial matches still remain for Wales, and they're technically far from eliminated. But losing to the seven-time defending champion turned out to be a huge missed opportunity.
After winning the Victory Shield in 2000, Northern Ireland haven't found much success in the tournament. But they look poised to turn that around after starting strong.
They opened up play with a 3-0 win over Scotland, notching three crucial points to start off their campaign.
Things immediately get tougher for Northern Ireland, who face 34-time champion England on Friday. Should they get an elusive victory over the typically dominant English U-16 side, look out. They could end up ending their 13-year drought.
The Scottish boast the most danger to England's spot atop the Victory Shield but didn't show it in their opening two matches.
Scotland have won the title outright 16 times, but the most recent time was in 1998. They were also joint champions back in 2003.
Their best chance since then came in 2011, when they just needed to secure a draw against England to win the title. Instead, they lost 2-1.
Scotland were eager to turn that around heading into this year's campaign, but they have already dug themselves into a hole.