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22 June 2012 ~
This Euro 2012 quarter-final should be a mismatch. One country has a wealth of experience in the latter stages of international tournaments, while the other has only ever been in one final. It's been said that if the underdogs dig in and get a lucky break, their victory will provide a distraction from the financial crisis at home. At least that's what Take That and Jimmy Carr are hoping.
Badge of the week ~ Republic of Ireland
You can almost hear the haunting tin-whistle, can't you. The vivacious swirls and broken lines of the new Irish logo add a contemporary playfulness to the plain iconography of a football on a plain background. The circular lines are not quite closed, are they? The line leaves its home and roams around chirpily, but does it actually return to its starting place? Will it return for the wild rose that's waiting for it, in the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea, one wonders. This, like so many emigrant dreams, must remain unresolved.
The sparky nature of this image was designed to entice people to spend a weekend in Ireland pursuing "the craic". But you won't find it everywhere. It looks like you will in the Tourist Information films but establishments such as newsagents, dry cleaners, builders merchants, hospitals and back-street boxing clubs don't necessarily recognise the craic. Cameron Carter
Judging the public mood is never easy, as Pukka Pies have discovered. Attaching your name to the England band must have looked like a good idea on paper.
from Phil Town
"National petroleum company GALP is offering this Portugal poster as a special promotion in their '11 For All, All for 11' campaign. Eat your hearts out, Village People."
A telling cameo from the BBC's Euro 2012 coverage. Lee Dixon gestures to Gary Lineker as if to say "he's done that thing we've talked about" (from 0.30).
Some graffiti on a wall in Denmark. It might be to do with a different WSC but we're claiming it for now. If you see anything similar be sure to let us know.
How better to start a preview of England's match with Ukraine than imagining Wayne Rooney going to sleep? Five correspondents for national papers all had the same idea.
from Neil Gordonstaff
"Something with which to celebrate Spain's success. Or to get hammered on if they lose to France."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
On December 31, 1910 a short news story in the Italian daily paper Corriere della Sera announced that: "The national team will finally have a proper kit: a shirt of marine blue, with a shield in the Italian colours on the breast." Having played their first two games in an all-white strip (the cheaper option), the Azzurri made their debut appearance on January 6, 1911, losing 1-0 to the Hungarians in Milan.
Though never officially confirmed, it is widely accepted that blue was chosen in homage to the House of Savoy (the colour was closely associated with the then ruling monarchs). Black shirts were worn twice under Mussolini’s reign at the 1938 World Cup, but since then the classic maglia azzurra has been pretty much left untouched, bar the occasional fussy collar or decorative panelling.
Diadora produced the national team shirts from 1985 to 1994. The 1986-1990 vintage is perfect, with its clean lines and tricolore trim. The team were going through a transition, with coach Azeglio Vicini looking to rebuild after the side that won the 1982 World Cup began to look its age. Previously the Under-21 coach, Vicini introduced the likes of Roberto Baggio and Gianluca Vialli to the international stage. Disappointment at Mexico in 1986 (Italy were knocked out by France at the last-16 stage) was followed by a decent showing at Euro 88 in West Germany, only for a slick USSR side to see them off 2-0 in the semi-finals. Matthew Barker