It's too bad for traders hoping to make a profit selling England merchandise, but the usual hype surrounding the national team's participation in a major international tournament seems in short supply this year. As we report, only a modest contingent of fans has made it to Donetsk to watch England play France today.
Why the subdued atmosphere and absence of St George's flags? The fact that Donetsk doesn't sound like a very glamorous destination could be one factor. Another is timing. Euro 2012 has ended up sandwiched between the four-day festival of flag-waving that was the Jubilee and the Olympics; there's only so much flag-waving that most people can take.
The preeminence of club football may also have dulled interest in the fate of the England squad. Lastly, the English aren't interested in the England team for the most pragmatic of reasons – because they don't expect it to win.