The kits that should be hits at Russia 18
It might be an old commentator’s standby to come up with statements like “it was 1989 when a team playing in stripes last won in the final”. But, objectively, we all know that this is more of an interesting snippet of information rather than a reasonable way to predict the outcome of a match. Nevertheless, when there’s a major tournament like the World Cup on the horizon the team’s strip always starts to get some serious attention. Often it’s because of the high prices that these special versions are sold for accompanied by the inevitable search for the cheapest version of the replica kits. But some of them are so great that they practically sell themselves.
So here, in reverse order, are our top five to look out for over the coming weeks.
5. Germany, Away.
It’s another World Cup that this distinctly retro kit is undoubtedly inspired by - the 1990 tournament in Italy when Germany denied England a place in the final after (yet another) nail-biting penalty shootout. Gazza cried and Chris Waddle’s missed penalty broke the heart of a nation. It’s not fancy or very colourful, but it’s designed for ruthlessly efficient German style football – so expect them to be well in the running for the title.
4. Colombia, Home
The South American team are also channelling the spirit of Italia 90 with their home shirt choice for Russia. In that tournament they made it through to the last 16 before being knocked out by Cameroon and they’ll be hoping to do better this time. Some have said that the colourful flashes under the arms make it look like a Marvel superhero’s costume, but that’s just what they could need to channel this summer if they’re going to progress to the quarter finals and beyond.
3. France, Home
Italy might be known as the “azzuri” but their absence means that France can luxuriate in the fact that they are the team wearing blue with pride this year. Admittedly, they’ve gone a shade darker than usual and added some contrasting, lighter sleeves. All in all, not a bad effort from a country that’s famed for its haute couture. It’s also conservative enough to avoid one of the shirt controversies that do spring up from time to time.
2. Spain, Home
As well as Germany, Spain are also one of the favourites for the tournament but their approach to shirt design couldn’t be more different. For inspiration they’ve gone back to USA 1994 when the team boasted players like Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique. The combination of red, yellow and purple is certainly striking and fans will be hoping for some dazzling performances to match.
Coincidentally, the number one shirt in the line up also harks back to 1994 and the very first time Nigeria qualified for the finals. It’s a vibrant combination of lime green, white and black given extra dash by the multiple chevrons. The design has proved to be such a big hit that many stores have sold out already. But then it is super cool, extra jazzy - and it could even be perfect for hypnotising the opposition!
So there are the kits, and now we just need to see them in action. And when any of the teams wearing them pull a wonder goal out of nowhere or perform some other incredible feat, their distinctive kit is sure to make it all the more memorable for the fans.