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15 June 2012 ~
If England lose to Sweden tonight, many pundits will criticise the appointment of Roy Hodgson. Meanwhile, a Mr D. Whelan of Wigan has phoned all media outlets to point out that Roberto Martinez is already in Poland and able to take over if needed.
Badge of the week ~ AS Denguélé, Ivory Coast
Someone in the Ivory Coast should be ashamed of themselves. Someone, or some group, has decided that the best way to represent AS Denguele pictorially is through a black and white football on a plain background. This design is so uncreative, it is almost creative. It takes a special kind of mind to draft this initial idea and subsequently accept it as the finished goods. You could use this club crest at children's parties, just after the magician's finished and the sugar from the fairy cakes is kicking in, simply to calm the little playmates down.
The police might think of using it to quell riots. Had last summer's looters and pillagers around the UK been flashed this design mid-insurrection, they would surely have limply dropped their trainers or wide-screen televisions and slunk home, injuriously reminded on a subliminal level of the Transience of Earthly Things and the Final Insignificance of Man. In fact, this badge is so awfully dull, so deadly, deadly lacklustre and boring, so trance-inducingly, grindingly dreary, it actually teeters on the avant-garde. Perhaps the region of Denguele just doesn't have many points of interest. But even Reading have a lion on their badge. Cameron Carter
from Alex Brodie
"Gruesome imagery from Ian Hawkey in the Sunday Times."
Wear this and see how people stare. Envy, of course.
from Tom Lines
"An image from Sky Sports Score Centre phone app. Given their recent troubles it was quite an achievement for Portsmouth to qualify for Euro 2012. Mind you, even the most optimistic Pompey fan probably wouldn't back them to beat Germany, even with a free bet."
From Roy Parkes
"An attack by Ukraine in the first half breaks down. The subtitles on BBC tell us: 'A nation waited... but de Gaulle would not come.' Although he did in the second half. He waited for D-Day presumably."
The reason England's team photo before the game against France only involved ten players: Glen Johnson had rushed off like a labrador in a meadow. One of the coaching staff calls him back but it's too late.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
The appeal of the German home kit lies in its simplicity. "Black and white are viewed as non-colours and therefore as neutral," explained Gerd Müller-Thomkins, the head of the German Fashion Institute in Cologne. "They stand for understatement, sobriety and coolness."
Yet this traditional understatement was abandoned by Adidas around the time of German reunification. The shirt in which Franz Beckenbauer's team won the 1990 World Cup displayed an erratic zig-zag motif that appeared to depict a particularly volatile day's trading in frozen pork bellies futures on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
The kit design for the 1994 World Cup in the US was even more daring. Two sickle-shaped patterns extending along the shoulders were intended to depict the wings of the eagle that symbolises Germany. As the black, red and gold colours of the German flag appeared upside down, however, it looked as if the eagle had been shot from the skies by a disgruntled farmer. Others thought the pattern depicted a Native Indian head-dress, inspired perhaps by Felipe Rose of the Village People with whom the German national team recorded their tournament song Far Away in America.
The Germany squad would not be away for long however. After Stefan Effenberg was sent home early for making a one-fingered gesture at travelling German fans, he was joined by his team-mates at the quarter-final stage when Yordan Letchkov's header gave Bulgaria a 2-1 victory. Chastened by the experience, Germany reverted to a more sober white shirt for Euro 96 in England – and promptly won the tournament. Paul Joyce