kits out! (part 1 of 3)

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WORLD CUP 2014 FOOTBALL KITS

As you may be acutely aware I rather like football shirts. Way more than I even like fire hydrants, which is saying something, I know, but it’s true. Every season I eagerly await news of any new kit release, clicking on links to reports of what Partick Thistle’s away shirt might look like, nodding appreciatively when teams like Nantes announce a new deal with Umbro, or shaking my head at the width of stripes on a new Milan jersey. The World Cup therefore is as much about the kits as it is about the players – I know more about the kits, for one thing (whereas I barely recognised half the England team, though that guy up front with the big mop of hair looked familiar, Dwayne Rodney I think he was called). So here is a helpfully-unillustrated run-down of the kits of each team at this year’s World Cup. Non-kit-enthusiasts, look away now (my next post will be a nice urban sketch I promise).

Before I start, here are some kit stats:

  • BRAND WITH MOST TEAMS (GROUP STAGE): Nike (10). Followed by Adidas (9), Puma (8) and Burrda, Joma, Lotto, Marathon, and Uhlsport (1 each) – no Umbro this year!
  • BRAND WITH MOST TEAMS (ROUND OF 16): Nike / Adidas (5 each), followed by Puma (4), Burrda and Lotto (1 each)
  • BRAND WITH MOST TEAMS (QUARTER-FINALS): Nike / Adidas (3 each), followed by  Burrda and Lotto (1 each). Bad luck Puma!
  • MOST PREDOMINANT HOME SHIRT COLOUR: White (9)*, then Red (8)*, Blue (5)*, Yellow (4), Green (3), Orange (2).  *Croatia are red/white, so I didn’t include but are arguably predominantly red; Argentina have blue stripes but are definitely more white this year.
  • MOST PREDOMINANT CHANGE SHIRT COLOUR (WHETHER WORN OR NOT): White (14), followed by Blue (8) and Red (6)
  • COUNTRY WITH MOST KITS: Spain (3), and they wore all of them. Brazil have a third too but will not wear the black one.
  • COUNTRIES WITH ALL-ONE-COLOUR HOME KITS (official, not the matchday FIFA-enforced variants): 17 (out of 32). 9 are all-white.

And now for my thoughts on the countries. I’m going to give this to you in three parts. It will be alphabetical. And all of the kit illustrations are mine, created in old-school MS Paint…

PART ONE:

  • ALGERIA : (Puma) Les Fennecs (Dalgeria 2014esert Foxes) have been one of the popular teams in this tournament, and I like their kits. Simple design but with a nice shade of green trim, which from the TV viewers point of view makes them blend in with the pitch. Puma kits tend to be more form-fitting these days so muscular physiques show up more. Some very muscular players in this World Cup too. In Algeria’s green away kit they look rather Hulk-esque.
  • ARGENTINA : (Adidas) argentina 2014Controversial. For the first time ever, Argentina have decided to go with white shorts instead of black as their official home shorts – as have Germany, as you’ll see. Sure they’ve been made to wear white shorts before (1990 World Cup I think) but it was not the official combination. Still…it doesn’t actually look bad. The home shirt (with it’s black trim!) looks nice, the blue stripes being graded lighter at the bottom to apparently make them look like a flag in the wind (what?). But lack of black shorts? Controversial. I’m surprised Maradona hasn’t gone on TV saying it’s a Malvinas-based conspiracy by FIFA and the Sunday Mirror. I suppose we can blame Adidas. They’ve done this a few times this World Cup, as you’ll see. I love that graded blue away kit though, one of the top five in this cup.
  • AUSTRALIA: (Nike) australiaDecent 1st kit, with a yellow top reminiscent of one Brazil had recently, with dark green Shorts, and – excitingly – white socks! This is a big deal. Fans had campaigned for years to have white socks again, after more than two decades. And you think I’m crazy about these things. Well done Nike. The 2nd kit is nice, dark blue with gold trim, always a winning combination for me. The collar is very retro, 70s-esque. Think Prisoner Cell Block H.
  • BELGIUM: (Burrda) belgiumLes Diables Rouges have had some nice kits in the past, and Burrda have have some questionable kits. Burrda… it sounds like something Taggart would say in his tough Scottish growl. “Aye, there’s been another Burrda”. They’re a Swiss company apparently. These kits are alright. The massive crown motif is different. At least they are unique, no other Burrdas at this World Cup, or any. Black change kit a little zany, plus a yellow third kit based on the home shirt, all have that round Belgian flag collar which is nice. Allez les Belges!
  • BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: (Adidas) bosniaFirst World Cup for Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were previously in a Legea kit, but they obviously decided last minute that Legea were too non-league for them and switched to Adidas, who to be fair quickly gave them a template you’d probably find in the non-league. Boring. But World Cup kits aren’t always interesting.  Not like I devote hours and hours of my time to them or anything…
  • BRAZIL: (Nike)brazil It’s Brazil, what do you want? Well blue shorts for one. Twice in this tournament they have turned out in non-trad white shorts with the classic yellow shirts. That is WRONG! This is BRAZIL! Most recognizable combination in history. So, home kit is not bad, collar’s a bit “meh”, not much else to the design, nothing unique to say “this is our World Cup! We are spectacular!” The blue 2nd kit has nice detailing, though I prefer a white collar. For some reason they have a black 3rd kit (or is it dark grey?) which they won’t wear, which is a shame because the shorts have peculiar multi-coloured horizontal stripes. Which is not something you see every day. Now…the question is, if Brazil get to the final and lose in yellow, will they retire it? When they lost to Uruguay at the Maracan in 1950 they wore white, their usual colour. It was such a tragedy they swore not to wear white shirts again, and then had a competition to choose a new combination. The winner was yellow shirts, green collar, blue shorts and white socks. So I ask you, will they change kits again if they lose? Not likely!
  • CAMEROON: (Puma) cameroonThe Indomitable Lions have one of the most vibrant kits at this cup, with a very busy pattern that has their nickname repeated throughout. It’s just a shame the team were not as busy on the pitch. I’m surprised Puma didn’t make nice long pockets on the shorts for the players to safely stash their bonus cash. The yellow second kit has the same pattern, while the white 3rd kit was, let’s face it, a bit hopeful. Cameroon have a fun kit history though, always good for some innovation. Remember the full bodysuit one with the lion-claw slashes on the side? And who can forget the sleeveless top from over a decade ago, that looked like a basketball top, which FIFA said they couldn’t wear at the World Cup. They had to sew on black sleeves. Shame, it was a classic.
  • CHILE: (Puma) : chileChile have been one of everybody’s favourite second teams (along with Mexico, Algeria, and about half a dozen or so others), and their Puma kit is very decent. That collar looks like it’s going to be round and then in the middle it’s like, oh hello, pointing downwards. The collar on the away kit probably got worried it was too low cut and so added a little bit extra beneath it. Sorry, they’re not that interesting, I’m grasping here. But they are decent, and the home is one for the hipsters to wear on their Saturday morning kickaround before going to the barbers for a tattoo and eating a latte on their organic wind-powered bike.
  • COLOMBIA: (Adidas) : colombiaOk Colombia, we have to talk. Listen, everyone’s happy you’re such a great team now, even without Falcao, but your kit combo just jars a little. It’s the white. It’s those sloping lines. I used to like the old yellow Umbro kits with the blue shorts, Carlos Valderrama, Faustino Asprilla, and who can forget the goalie Rene Higuita with his metalist’s hair, long runs up the pitch and his scorpion kicks. However, I have a feeling this kit will grow on me considerably, and with a good World Cup it could be one to remember. In thirty years time adidas or whoever will be making their shirts then (under armour or someone) will be bringing out kits to look like this one. A future retro classic.
  • COSTA RICA: (Lotto): costa ricaNice to see Lotto having a kit at the World Cup. Actually it would be if it were one of those kits from back when Holland had them, 1994, around then. These days Lotto kits are a bit of a mess. Costa Rica has that wavy bizarro-Peru thing going on and the collar seems to stop then start again several times. Yet, like the team, I kinda like it. It kinda works. No 1990-era lucky black-and-white stripes from them this time, though they seem to have adopted their white kit as being ‘lucky’ this time. FIFA will be pleased.
  • CROATIA: (Nike): croatiaBefore every international tournament kit release season I say to myself, I’m going to close my eyes and imagine what Croatia will do, will it be red and white squares for home with a blue away kit that has those red and white squares along the trim? Oh yes, that again. Home kit is nice, but I prefer more white than the red on the sleeves, but what do I know. Apparently their first kit in 1990 had the red sleeves. Not too much you can do with an already memorable design so they keep it simple. I for one, in this age of attempted homogenizing international kits, am glad this kit exists. With blue socks (as they wore in the opening match) it works even better. 
  • ECUADOR: (Marathon) ecuadorA sunny kit, made by Marathon who are an Ecuadorean company which is very nice. The change kit is just a reverse. Another for the hipsters, though they didn’t make it out of the group stage this time around. Nice little sun element around the badge. Not much else to say really, it’s flag-coloured.

Phew! Join me for Part Two, which will come when I’ve drawn more kits…

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