Tag: England

From Diamond To Swoosh: England Sever Their Umbro Ties

We’ve been here before, of course. The news that the Football Association has decided to jettison Umbro as the manufacturers of the England national teams kit in favour of the brand that owns it, Nike, has been a long time coming and should be no great surprise to many seasoned kit-watchers. Although much has been of the tradition and apparent permanence of this particular contract, this is not even the first time that Umbro has been replaced as the England kit manufacturer since football shirts started to become adorned with manufacturers logos in the middle of the 1970s. Umbro have flirted with – and entered into a more committed relationship with – the England national team since the early 1950s. They took on the job from a little known company called St Blair in 1954 before losing the contract to Bukta in 1961. That they should have won it back for the start of the 1965/66 season may well, however, be the single biggest contributing factor behind why they have kept the contract for most of the previous three decades. The simple, elegant designs used by the England team between 1965 and 1974 are considered by some to be a high point in the history of the design of football kits, but when the national team failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup finals, a clean sweep at...

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England At Euro 2012: A “Neutral” Speaks

Eamon Dunphy got it right. The “outspoken” pundit for Irish state television (RTE) said on Saturday night that “England won’t score, they have no creative players…it’ll go to penalties and Italy will go through.” It was a stroke of luck for Dunphy, who rather slurred his way through a short interview on RTE Radio, as he “was preparing for the Spain v France game.” As interviewer Joanne Cantwell semi-gleefully noted, “you did tip Holland to win it, Eamon.” Indeed, Eamon said a lot. It’s almost his job to be controversial for whatever reason – a story that requires another article which I’ll spare you. And he was particularly disparaging towards the English media’s assessment of Roy Hodgson’s team. “I’ve been in stitches reading the English papers today,” he said. “They love Roy Hodgson. They think they’re going to win it.” And, on this narrow point at least, he sort of had a point. English media pundits have been desperate to keep a tin lid on their normally bullish consideration of England’s chances at international finals for which they’ve qualified. And, up to a point, they did. But past that point, a day or so after the scruffy 1-0 win over Ukraine, the instances of “we can win this you know” and variants thereof began to grow. The BBC’s Jonathan Pearce even managed to shoe-horn “there’s a growing belief that...

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Hopes, Dreams & Reality: On England At Euro 2012

The St George flags will be hanging limply this afternoon. It was after midnight in Kiev last night when the final kick hit the back of the net and confirmed what we all probably already knew – that this England side wasn’t good enough to reach the semi-finals of the 2012 European Championships – but there is little sense of recrimination in the air this morning, rather an acceptance that the “lottery” of the penalty shoot-out – and whether this is true or not is a matter for conjecture in itself – merely served to see that justice was done. We had seen the evidence of this with our own eyes over the preceding agonising one hundred and twenty minutes. Yet there they were, in the shoot-out itself in the first place, and thus in itself says something about the spirit of a team that has won a few friends back over the last couple of weeks, which had already played beyond what many of us assumed would be their capability in getting that far, and which had contrived to undo some of the badwill generated by the entitled, incompetent performance – or lack thereof – of two years ago in South Africa. England provided a little drama, occasional flashes of unexpected skill and a more positive headlines than negative this summer, and this is all the more surprising when we consider what...

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Euro 2012: The Quarter-Finals – England 0-0 Italy (Italy Win 4-2 On Penalty Kicks)

So, then, to Kiev and to the quarter-finals of the European Championships. It’s the final match of the round this evening, featuring an Italian side that is something of a curates egg, excellent against Spain in matching them every inch of the way before being slightly underwhelming against Croatia and The Republic of Ireland, whilst England remain somewhat enigmatic, decent enough in fits and starts but also a little lucky in places and, for fifteen minutes against Sweden nine days ago, almost apocalyptically disorganised. The history books say Italy, who have a considerably better record against England than many realise due to the infrequency with which the two sides have played each other over the years, but England have showed considerable character over the last few weeks and this match felt, prior to kick-off, difficult to call. After three largely uninspiring quarter-final matches, though, this one gets off to a flying start when, with less than three minutes played, Daniele De Rossi allows a cross-field pass across his body and delivers a magnificent, swerving twenty-five yard volley which thids off the inside of the post and out. Italy fail, initially at least, to take advantage of this strong start and within a couple of minutes England create a chance of their own at the other end of the pitch when James Milner crosses from the right and Glen Johnson,...

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