England have axed their iconic red second strip for Euro 2012.
The Three Lions will instead take to the field wearing their controversial indigo-and-sky blue strip, which they wore during the 1-0 win over Norway at the weekend, for their group stage match against Sweden.
England will wear their normal white kit for their first and third matches of the tournament against France and Ukraine respectively, and in the event that Roy Hodgson’s men make it into the quarter-finals a likely match-up against either Spain or Italy will mean they can stay in white.
The red kit was made famous when it was worn by England on their way to glory in the 1966 World Cup, and was used by the national team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in the last-16 match against Germany.
Given how that turned out, perhaps it’s better that England will not appear in red this time around. And any fans wishing to wear a current red shirt with the Three Lions logo on it will be able to pick up a replica version of goalkeeper Joe Hart’s planned all-red strip.
On top of that, there is a solid precedent for abandoning red. Only twice have England gone into a major tournament without red as their second strip: the most recent of these was at Euro 96, when one of the best teams in recent memory made it as far as the semi-finals before a penalty shoot-out defeat by Germany. Naturally, some made a connection between the grey kit and defeat, claiming the players found it difficult to pick one another out.
And it’s probably best not to dwell on the only other time England abandoned red for a tournament: that was in 1950, when England’s alternate strip was blue and they suffered a famous 1-0 humiliation at the hands of the USA which saw them heading home following the first stage of the competition.