Icelandic saga and Azzurri give big brands the blues on Euro’s Manic Monday

By David Owen

June 28 – Just when it looked like Euro 2016’s Battle of the Brands was about to come down to a straight shoot-out between Nike and Adidas, along came the tournament’s Manic Monday to make sure that four kit suppliers are still in with a chance of glory at the quarter-final stage.

First Italy – Puma’s last representative after the defeats of Switzerland and Slovakia – impressively dumped out Adidas’s Spain, winners of the past two European championships.

Then, in the shock of the tournament by a wide margin, Iceland – whose blue shirts are sourced from Erreà of Italy whose other teams include Rwanda and Bristol Rovers – upset Nike’s England in what was probably the 1966 World Cup winners’ most humiliating defeat since the loss to Eric Gaetjens’s United States in 1950.

In an indication of how well Nike teams have been doing at Euro 2016, this was only the swoosh brand’s second defeat of the entire competition at the hands of a non-Nike opponent. The first was Turkey’s pummelling by Spain.

The previous six knockout ties had resulted in an even balance of three Nike teams and three with Adidas through to the quarter finals. Since they started with six teams to Adidas’s nine, this is very much a result for the US brand, although England’s surprise ejection must have come as a blow.

In spite of their numerical superiority, the quarter-final matches do not feature a Nike versus Adidas clash. They get under way on Thursday with an all-Nike affair between Poland and Portugal, before Wales take on Belgium the following day for the right to fly the Adidas flag in the semi-finals.

It is Adidas versus Puma on Saturday in the heavyweight match-up between Germany and Italy, before hosts France, part of the Nike camp, bring the round to a close against England’s Erreà-clad conquerors.

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