What he said:
“I hope Puma don’t make condoms.”
Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri made the most cutting remark of the evening when he said the above following the shredding of four team-mates’ jerseys during a group game with hosts France at this year’s European Cup.
Admir Mehmedi, Breel Embolo, Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka all lost their shirts—literally—in their goalless draw in Lille.
Xhaka had to change shirts twice.
Former England World Cup hero Gary Lineker was equally scathing on Twitter indicting German industry.
This is not the first time the Swiss encountered problems with their Puma tees.
Breel Embolo lost his top in a friendly against Montenegro.
“We have had a few problems with the jersey. The kit manager is not fully ready yet, but we are.”
“There was one batch of material, where yarns had been damaged during the production process, leading to a weakening in the final garment. This can happen, if the combination of heat, pressure and time is not properly controlled in the manufacturing process. All federations have confirmed that they never had any such issues and are very happy with quality, functionality and design of their jerseys.”
Puma supplies shirts to Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland and Slovakia.
Its home rival Adidas was also targeted when its ‘Beau Jeu’ ball designed especially for Euro 2016 burst open in the same match.
“We are looking into what happened. Incidents of this nature are extremely rare.
The reason for the tear has not yet been identified, but Beau Jeu [the tournament ball] has been widely praised by respected experts for its contribution to the exciting start to the tournament.”
What Shaqiri really meant:
“A tear—at the wrong time—makes nine.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’ll opt for double protection the next time I play—I’ll wear two jerseys instead.”
I thought I was going to be writing an article on whether Career Grand Slams have become de rigueur in the current age of tennis or we are blessed to have three to four outstanding players converge on the sport in the same era.
It was not to be.
Stanislas Wawrinka (va-vreeng-kah) had other thoughts.
The Swiss No. 2 (he’ll probably be No. 1 this week) defeated the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in four sets on a Sunday afternoon in Paris.
He is no longer a one-Slam wonder.
Aficionados might have cribbed that his first Slam, the Australian Open in 2014, was handed him on a platter. A favourable draw and an injured Nadal were the variables that worked to his advantage.
But very few can begrudge him his second Slam. Djokovic may not have had enough time to recover from a grueling semi-final. But the Swiss had to fight hard to get to the finals, ousting his idol Federer on the way.
Wawrinka recently ended his marriage to Swiss TV presenter Ilham Vuilloud.
“We have enjoyed ten fulfilling years, with all the ups and downs that every couple experiences, but sometimes life is more challenging than one would hope.
Ilham and I were both blessed to create a family when our wonderful daughter Alexia was born in 2010. We have always tried to live our lives as a team and as a family, despite the challenges we have faced due to the demands of my career. To my great regret this isn’t possible anymore.
Ilham will always be the mother of my daughter and a person that I have a lot of love and respect for. We will always remain as a family. Now my priority is to do everything to protect Alexia during these challenging times.
I hope that the fans and the media will understand that I’ve always been very protective of my private life and wish to continue to do so not giving any further information about the situation.”
Nice guys do not have to always finish last.
It was, perhaps, a bit of both.
For the first two sets, it seemed as though it was to be yet another cakewalk for the Swiss. The motions were smooth; the serve was chugging along like a Rolls Royce. The Frenchman was sleepwalking his way out of the tournament.
Then suddenly, something changed. It was, as though, the Ali-lookalike realised that this was his best chance—his only one. He had nothing to lose, so why not go at it full-tilt like the gladiator he is?
The first break of Roger’s sublime service fuelled this belief. That, maybe, there was something to be gainsaid from it all.