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England vs. France: Sparks In The Dark

Images:  FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages, Lars Baron/Getty Images.

Given England’s past form in major tournaments , it would not have been unreasonable of fans to have seen Ray Clemence’s pre-match injury as a portent of doom. The goalkeeping coach snapped his achilles tendon before England’s opening Euro 2012 fixture vs. France, bringing the number of Roy Hodgson’s staff who have succumbed to injury before a ball is kicked in anger to five.

Fortunately, everyone else survived the journey from the pitch to the changing room and back, and ten minutes later, with media hype and optimism at a new and refreshing low, kicked off against a team who hadn’t tasted defeat in 21 international fixtures.

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