International Break

International break can be a quiet time for photographers, but we made sure to keep ours busy.

We shipped Marc Atkins out to Dortmund for the Poldolski Show – er, I mean the Germany v England friendly – before bringing him back for the World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania where he teamed up with Mark Leech.

Meanwhile, Simon Stacpoole visited the less continental Glasgow for the Scotland v Slovenia match.


Pictures from England Women’s historic first international at Wembley

Though the international break may have been over and done with in the mens’ game over the weekend, the womens’ game passed a milestone on Sunday at Wembley, where England played their first match at the nation’s home of football against Germany.

Mark Leech: A general view of Wembley Stadium.
Mark Leech: A general view of Wembley Stadium.

Mark Leech was at the national stadium to shoot, along with a record crowd of 45,619 for a women’s international.

Mark Leech: German captain Celia Sasic causes panic in the England defence.
Mark Leech: German captain Celia Sasic causes panic in the England defence.
Mark Leech: Alex Scott of England in action.
Mark Leech: Alex Scott of England in action.

The hosts got off to a bright start, with Jordan Nobbs hitting the bar in the eighth second as England looked to push on immediately to snatch an early lead. Continue reading “Pictures from England Women’s historic first international at Wembley”

Leechy on the road: November 14 1984 – Turkey 0-8 England

Mark Leech remembers a special trip away with England to Turkey back in November 1984 during which the legend of Captain Marvel burned at its brightest…

The ’84 match was an afternoon kick off in Istanbul, which back in the 80s meant, wow, we can shoot England in daylight, and get some stock pictures up and down of Bryan Robson and Co.

Most of all we wanted Mark Hately, who was at AC Milan at the time, and he was meant to be the great prospect. He’d scored that goal in the Marcana in the summer, got his move to Milan and had started banging in a few goals there.

We thought, well the Wembley lights were unbelievable back then. To even get a colour picture from Wembley was a work of art in itself. But to get him in daylight was well worth shelling out quite a few quid for the official trip to Turkey, with the under-21 game thrown in. Continue reading “Leechy on the road: November 14 1984 – Turkey 0-8 England”

On this day in World Cup football: England’s one night in Turin

On July 4, 1990, Sir Bobby Robson’s England faced Germany in the semi-final of Italia ’90.

It may have only been, as it would come to be called, “one night in Turin”, but it was a match that ultimately remade and refreshed a football nation brought to its knees by the tragedies of the 80’s.

Fittingly, England’s path through the tournament to reach the game had suffered its own troubles, with Robson barracked by the press prior to the competition after having signed a deal to takeover PSV Eindhoven after the summer campaign in Italy.

Who could blame him for wanting a new challenge though given the stick metered out in his direction by the English media during his reign? Though Carlsberg of all people may have confirmed his canonisation as one of the nation’s most beloved, managerial greats ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, at the time he wasn’t universally popular, at least within the realms of the fourth estate. Revisionism has of course since helped to grant him the place in the English footballing pantheon he deserves, and his final bow as England manager at Italia ’90 played no small part in securing his legend.

On top of the controversy over the manager’s post-World Cup career plans, the team itself struggled to get going in the group stage, labouring to a stolid 1-1 draw with Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland in their first game. A switch away from 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2 system using Mark Wright as a sweeper turned things around however, as England beat The Netherlands and Egypt to top the group. Victories over Belgium and Cameroon in the round of 16 and quarter-finals saw them through to the semi’s to meet Germany in Turin.

Unfortunately, it was Franz Beckenbauer’s team who ran out as winners to reach the final and also claim the silverware for themselves, but not before an enthralling contest in which Paul Gascoigne shed tears, Gary Lineker endear himself to the nation’s heart and soul, and yet another dramatic loss via penalties for England.

Mark Leech was on the scene to shoot the match, along with Wilfried Witters and photographers from L’Equipe, whose work remains part of Offside’s extensive library of World Cup, football and sporting images.

The actions of the match have long since passed into the mythology of the English game, but Germany themselves claimed that their opponents provided the sternest test on their journey to winning the World Cup at the final in Rome.

Above are some select images from the game, capturing Lothar Mattehus’ consoling of Chris Waddle after failing from the penalty spot, Gazza’s emotional reaction to his yellow card that would have denied him a place in the final, and Stuart Pearce’s own personal regret over his missed shot in the shoot out.

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