Dedicated to Gooner gals and pals who love to don jumpsuits and smart jackets as they do their jerseys.

13 May 2012

Country Costumes: England

There's a feeling of both being choked and humiliated all while attempting to nurse a mad hangover when one thinks of the English team. You don't know whether to cry or laugh, cringe or scoff, and worst of all - they're not even your team. A part of you wants them to do well because you follow the league, your team is English, you have an assortment of players that you rate who are English and oh yeah, they invented the sport. But then you turn the channel to England vs. whoever-it-doesn't-really-mattter-they'll-screw-it-up-anyway and you have that nagging thought in the back of your mind that even you could do better than that. They hold on to their sole 1966 World Cup win and have a tendency for the attitude that they have the God-given right to win everything in football*.

Now I'm not one of those England haters without a reason, but after an arsenal of off-pitch horseplay (i.e. John Terry) you can't help but wonder why they still have the loyalty of their fans. Their performance in South Africa left an unbelievably bitter taste, drawing 1-1 to United States and losing 4-1 to Germany. Their abysmal campaign caused the nation to more or less abandon their own team. They lost the financial backing of Nationwide, Carlsberg, and National Express with only chocolate giants Mars left as their sponsor. Manager Fabio Capello was forced to resign but stayed on as he refused and the FA had no choice but to keep him as the Euro 2012 qualifying was too soon. And so England carried on with having little more than a glance from the country and ended their "worst season ever" losing 2-1 to historical rivals France in a friendly as the players were booed off the pitch by its fans.

The England national team is joint oldest with fellow home nation Scotland in the world of international football. They played their first match in 1870 which ended in a draw and it was not until November 1872 that their first FIFA-recognised match was played which also ended in a draw. There is no doubt that the English team has a long, rich, and often turbulent history. In 1938, the team played their first European tour match against Germany in Berlin. The team was ordered to make the Nazi salute during the German national anthem and while the dressing room exploded in uproar, the team had no choice but to obey. The order had come from the British ambassador as relations between the two countries were shaky. The match ended 6-3 to England. A year later, England declared war on Germany.

England entered their first World Cup in 1950 which saw their infamous 1-0 defeat to the United States. They exited in the quarter finals in 1954 after being eliminated by defending champions Uruguay. While the country hopes for success in the 1958 World Cup, the Munich air disaster ended those hopes as the incident took the lives of their most important international players. Bobby Charlton, then future English and Manchester United legend survived the crash after being rescued by teammate Harry Gregg. In true English style, their 1966 World Cup win was not without its drama. (West) Germany today still protests on the issue of whether or not Geoff Hurst's goal crossed the line. Nevertheless, the goal was given and Bobby Moore became the first and only English captain as of today to lift the World Cup.

England's record in the continental stage is rather poor. They have yet to reach a final, and we all know what happened in 2008. Nothing.

My own thoughts on the English team is largely unsure. While I truly have so much respect for their history, the team of today leaves little to be desired. The team are filled with prima donnas and their form is inconsistent. Their focus is rocky and off-pitch gossip fills their campaigns (see WAGs in Germany). So I chose to ignore England of today and focused on the Charltons, Moores, and Greaveses. Passion wins the game, and while England has a hoard of skills - their guts are empty of spirit. To pay tribute to the 1966 team, I chose a sharp outfit with historical references. A peplum top with rich velvet patterns, sleek leather pants, and a tailored blazer brings a strong classy look. Finish with a simple black clutch, army green scarf to beat the windy English air, lion ring, and bold red pumps.

*As said by Johnny Haynes, then England inside forward after their elimination in 1958.

Trousers, Burberry Prorsum, price unavailable
Top, Alexander McQueen, £1195
Blazer, Stella McCartney, £943
Clutch, Mulberry, £450
Ring, Alexis Bittar, £137
Scarf, Mulberry, £225
Shoes, Charlotte Olympia, £595


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