Euro Zone: No flagging shirt sales as pink proves a hit in Germany

Scotland’s sorry attack; and Declan Rice’s unwitting rebuke

The manufacturers of Germany's new away kit have been vindicated by strong shirt sales. Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

There was a bit of a to-do back in March when Germany’s new change strip was unveiled, the more traditional greens, blacks and reds that have featured down the years replaced by a very loud pink and purple. As The Athletic reported, among the complaints at the time were that it had no elements of the national flag, it wasn’t considered “German” enough and, perhaps most cuttingly, it resembled something Barbie might wear.

Not that German legend Uli Hoeness was too fussed about the uproar. “All this criticism is nonsense,” he said. “The players can play bare-chested with a kit painted on – the most important thing is what happens on the pitch. I couldn’t care less about what they’re wearing.”

The German football association and Adidas, the kit manufacturers, stood their ground, arguing that “the new away kit is meant to represent the new generation of German football fans, as well as the diversity of the country”. Which led to charges of them being “WOKE!!!”.

So, how is the woke Barbie kit selling? Well, let’s just say Adidas and the association, a bit like the players, are quite literally in the pink – it has become the biggest selling away shirt in the history of the national team. What’s it they say? It’s Barbie’s world, we’re just living in it.

Rice tackles Gareth Southgate

Trickiest pre-England v Slovenia exchange? We’ll go with this one between ITV and Declan Rice.

ITV: “Are the players physically fit enough to carry out the game plan?”

Rice: “Yes! Of course they are!”

ITV: “It’s been questioned.”

Rice: “It’s ridiculous! Let them keep questioning!”

Who had done the questioning of the England players’ fitness? (ie “We are not pressing well enough, with enough ­intensity. We have limitations in how we can do that with the physical condition.”) Eh, their manager.

Quote of the day

“Did I speak to him? He’s from Argentina. How would I ask him? Probably doesn’t speak the language. Why’s he here? Why’s it not a European referee?” – Steve Clarke on not confronting Facundo Tello about his failure to award Scotland a penalty against Hungary. “The” language? Is there only one?

Number of the day: 17

The number of shots on goal by Scotland over their three Euro 2024 games, the joint lowest, along with Northern Ireland in 2016, in the history of the tournament, according to OptaJoe.

Word of Mouth

“To have him, an out-and-out goalscorer, pass the ball for the assist, it was a pure moment of Portuguese football that should be shown in every academy in world football. From Cristiano, we saw something spectacular.” – Portugal manager Roberto Martínez sounding a bit gobsmacked about Ronaldo setting up that goal for Bruno Fernandes rather than having a blast himself.

“The air con seems to have a mind of its own. The players are waking up Baltic or boiling.” – A “source” telling the Sun about an issue with the air conditioning at England’s hotel. When you think about it, Baltic or boiling sums up their somewhat inconsistent form.

“Speechless right now. Never seen such an incompetent performance. From Clarke to all players. You should be f***ing embarrassed. Awful. I have never felt such a low as I’m feeling right now. That was an absolutely devastating defeat.” – Former Scotland international Paul Ritchie taking that defeat by Hungary well.

“Let’s have some positivity going into games. Players like Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, tell them they’re the best players in the world. Make them read that rather than having the negative comments sitting on their mind.” – Declan Rice’s instructions to the pundits. We await James McClean’s response.

“TAA left back, Kobbie Mainoo centre-mid, Palmer on the right ... would give reasons but too many touchy ****ers out there.” – Paul Scholes makes his England changes, but opts not to elaborate.