Loyalty to national colours flags

PARIS - The national flags may fly at the respective Euro 2008 matches but several of the teams' strips will bear no reflection of those standards.

PARIS - The national flags may fly at the respective Euro 2008 matches but several of the teams' strips will bear no reflection of those standards.

Indeed, several of them will wear colours more associated with a royal connection.

Italy and Germany may have rid themselves of their monarchies many years ago but that hasn't stopped them wearing outfits recalling those days.

Italy, for instance, play in blue and white, nothing whatsoever to do with the red, white and green of their national flag, but the colours are those of the House of Savoy, that of King Victor Emmanuel, who was the first king of the unified Italy in 1861.

The Germans too eschewed the black, red and yellow of the flag that was brought in following their defeat in World War I and was introduced under the Weimar Republic (1919-1933).

But the German football side wanted nothing to do with a flag that represented humiliation and stuck with the all-white top that had been the colour of the standard of the German Empire, which came to an end with defeat in the war.

They also carried on sporting black shorts, which was the colour of Kaiser Wilhelm II's eagle on the flag.

They kept on wearing the white shirt after World War II and when they beat huge favourites Hungary 3-2 in the 1954 World Cup final in Switzerland it prompted their coach Josef Herberger to declare: "One can once again be proud to be German."

The Dutch too prefer to wear something different instead of the red, white and blue of the national flag, in this case orange as it is the colours of the dynasty of William of Orange-Nassau who ruled the Netherlands during the height of their international power - it was William II who declared their independence in 1648.

The Croats have their national flag colours emblazoned on their shirts but also the red and white diamond shapes represent the 25 small provinces that make up Hrvatska, Croatia.

The French, though, have stuck to their revolutionary ideals, using the good old red, white and blue that was led into battle on many victorious occasions under Napoleon. - Sapa-AFP

X