LIKE many millions of football fans around the world, I’ve been tuning in to catch as much of the World Cup action from Brazil as I can. It’s been a fantastic tournament so far, with enough goals, skills, shocks, upsets and of course controversies to keep us all on the edge of our seats.

Almost as fascinating as events on the pitch have been the shots of the crowd – the sheer delight on the faces of the fans as they enjoy this carnival of football on a truly global stage.

I have long dreamed - as I’m sure many of my fellow supporters have – of following Wales to a major tournament, whether it be the World Cup or the Euros, and being one of those fans soaking up the atmosphere in the stadium.

I’m ever hopeful of course, and I certainly won’t be alone in thinking that maybe with our current crop of players, we stand the best chance we have in years of qualifying.

With Cardiff boy and world’s most expensive footballer Gareth Bale leading the way, and Bluebirds product Aaron Ramsey in fantastic form, I and many others will be relishing the start of the Euro 2016 qualification campaign – and beyond that the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

It was great to see both Bale and Ramsey proudly holding their Welsh flags aloft after they helped their clubs to cup victory at the end of the season, and it would be fantastic to see them do this again with Wales.

With Gareth Bale one of the hottest properties in world football, it is no surprise to see him fronting a new adverting campaign – but what a delight it is to see Penarth Pier taking centre stage as well!

We all know what a lovely spot it is – and now millions of viewers will also get to see it!

Of course this sporting summer is not just a treat for football fans - with Wimbledon also in full flow, and only a few weeks to go before the start of the Commonwealth Games. The Games, in Glasgow, see athletes competing for their home nation, rather than under the GB banner, and from speaking to former athletes I know this is something in which they take great pride.

I’m sure all Penarth Times readers will, like me, be following the fortunes of local swimmer Ieuan Lloyd and discus star Brett Morse – and wishing them the very best as they make their final preparations.