With the World Cup in Brazil just a couple of short months away, fashion-conscious football fans from around the world will be queuing up in sports shops to get their hands on the shirts their heroes will be wearing on football’s biggest stage. Some nations have stuck to the tried and tested classics - Holland will rock up in a traditional plain Oranje shirt and reigning champions Spain have simply added a few darker stripes to their usual red-and-gold outfit - but this article will show you some of the more left-field efforts that will be filling the wardrobes of football hipsters worldwide in the months to come.
Possibly the nicest, if not the most traditional kit at this World Cup will be Germany‘s, with Özil, Müller, Schweinsteiger & co. set to model a beautiful white and red home kit, with a QPR-esque red and black hooped away shirt. The home kit truly is a joy to behold with a multi-hued red ‘V’ shape around the chest area, black Adidas stripes down the arms and a black and red loop around the end of each sleeve, and with the Germans proving to be many people’s favorites to romp to victory in Rio, they could lift the trophy for the first time since 1990 (West Germany) in style.
The away shirt is less refined and is almost identical to QPR’s away kit this season, but no doubt there will be a bit more style and verve on show than has been found on Loftus Road in recent weeks. Rumors of a laser-guided penalty assistance system built into the socks are as of yet unconfirmed.
The tournament in Brazil is being widely touted as a festival of color, and one side who have certainly taken that in their stride are dark horses Belgium, who sport all the colors of their flag in their three kits by Burrda Sports. The Belgian FA’s crown is evident in a large pattern on the home shirts, with the Red Devils’ home top almost resembling something a Ferrari F1 driver would be seen sporting before race day. A bold red design is accompanied by a black and yellow stripe through the middle, and the away kit is an imposing black with a shock of red and yellow down the diagonal.
It becomes even more imposing when you remember that it will be worn by Lukaku, Benteke and Kompany, making a fearsome prospect for opposing sides. Given the contrasting nature of their home and away kits, a third alternative seems almost unnecessary, but if it becomes urgent - if they play Germany at ‘home’, for example - a yellow version of their home kit will be available. Just hope there aren’t too many flies buzzing around the stadium.
In total contrast to the tropical heat of the Amazon rainforest where some will have to play, Russia have decided to bring along some home comforts with an icy blue tinge to their stunning away kit. Their red kit has an interesting detail around the bottom (supposedly a watermark of the ‘Kosmonauts Museum’ in Moscow to honor the Russian space program) and the famous words of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, on the back of the collar - “пoеxали!”, or “Let’s go!”
However, it is their away effort which will raise the most eyebrows, a simple white shirt with a bright blue outline around the shoulders. Also bearing the words of Gagarin on the collar, it has been suggested that up close, the blue represents the view the first Kosmonauts had when they reached the edge of the atmosphere. Russian fans will be hoping their team can reach for the stars in a tricky group.
It would seem that Colombia are the style gurus of South America, as Adidas have created for them a very attractive yellow and blue number. The diagonal stripes across the shirt give a more modern feel to a traditional kit, and the patterning on the largest stripe - apparently representative of a sombrero hat - make it a genuinely stylish shirt.
An Andean Condor, native to the region, adorns the back collar of the shirt with the motif ‘unidos por un pais’ or ‘united for a nation’, reflecting the unifying effect it is hoped a strong showing from the Colombians will have on the poverty-stricken country. A plain red away kit is noticeably quieter, something which could reflect the team as a whole without talisman Radamel Falcao, injured in action for AS Monaco earlier this season.
Another side hoping to make a mark with a striking kit design are Mexico, who have added what seem to be lightning bolts striking the country’s badge. A green pinstripe design seems fairly standard at first but the orange bolts across the front are certainly unique, if they do seem a little childish.
Their away kit also comes under the category of ‘out there’, an orange-red punctuated by what I’m told is a ‘Mexican power pattern’ in black across the middle. They could easily be mistaken for the Netherlands at first glance, but will be hoping to avoid any emulation of the Dutch performance in 2010’s final - perhaps they could add a Mexican wrestling tint to Nigel De Jong’s kung-fu assault on Xabi Alonso.
Completing this list are a team few expect to see much of in this tournament, Iran, but they certainly win the prize for the fastest animal on their shirts. The watermark of a bemused-looking Iranian cheetah features on both the home and away shirts, but even ignoring such ferocious imagery, both kits have their merits.
The white home shirt with a thin red band and green collar is simplistic and effective, though the patterning on the red away shirt may be a little overwhelming. With the colours matching those of the Iranian flag, the shirts could only be seen for their three group games, but they will certainly leave a lasting impression.
So who wins? In my opinion you can’t look past Germany’s red and white masterpiece, but it could be that you prefer a less provocative kit to represent your nation; Holland and France will both look good without appearing to try too hard on the fashion front. Whatever your country and whatever your preference, let us know in the comment section below!