One-offs – West Ham United, 2014

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For the 2016-17 season, West Ham United brought out a very dark navy third kit which paid tribute to the club’s origins in Thames Ironworks.

It was worn in a friendly against Juventus and the intention was that it would be used in the 2017 FA Cup but an administrative error put paid to that idea. A 5-0 home defeat to Manchester City ended their cup campaign at the first hurdle and, coincidentally, City were also involved in a previous occasion involving a little-used dark change kit.

With a white away strip for 2013-14 and the home kit used against teams in red and white stripes, there probably wasn’t much need for a third shirt. Tact that the launch pictures showed the Hammers players wearing the sky blue away shorts added to the sense that this was a fashion accessory.

Having reached the Capital One Cup semi-finals, West Ham were paired with Manchester City, with the first leg at the Etihad Stadium. West Ham wore their away kit as they lost 6-0 (the home leg was a 3-0 defeat) and the overall clash of white and sky blue came in for comment on social media.

As luck would have it, they wouldn’t have to travel to City in the league until the final day of the season, leaving us kit-nerds waiting anxiously to see what would happen. Ultimately, it was decided to wear the third shirt, though as it was at the end of its lifespan, there was no appetite to create special shorts and socks and so the away sets were used.

West-Ham-United-2013-2014-adidas-third-kit-Manchester-City-01

While they had exactly as much sky blue as they had had in January, it was easier to differentiate without the large levels of white. Incidentally, West Ham went with a purple third shirt in 2014-15, using it in the FA Cup.

Fantasy Kit Friday – Manchester United’s 2018-19 in a more traditional format

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You might have seen that the 2018-19 Manchester United kit was launched during the week.

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The main thrust of the promotional campaign has been to hark back to the railway links that United’s forerunner Newton Heath had, with the grading on the shirt and socks said to somehow resemble tracks.

That’s fine – every club uses PR bullshit when bringing out a new kit – but what is worthy of far more comment is the fact that, for the first time since Newtown Heath became Manchester United, the first-choice shorts are black, while red plays a prominent role on the home socks for the first time since the early 1970s.

To our mind, it’s rather Bayer Leverkusen-y, a lot to take in in one go, as articulated by the Twitter account of the site which charts the club’s kit history:

Further discussions with Daniel Gellatley from unitedkits.com led to him suggesting a mocked-up version of the new kit but in the more usual colourway, white shorts and primarily black socks.

Manchester-United-2018-adidas-Fantasy-Kit-Friday-02-01-01

Better or worse? Let us know.

Unworn red adidas Arsenal shorts

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On New Year’s Eve last year, Arsenal wore red shorts with their home shirts for the first time in four decades and we posted an article looking at the rare instances when they had swapped their white sets for darker colours.

Between wearing navy shorts with red and white shirts in 1982-83 and doing likewise in 2013-14, the only changes to the default home kit were below the knee as alternative socks were sometimes used.

That 31-year period obviously encompasses the time that Arsenal were with adidas, 1986-94. When the navy away shorts clashed with a home team, the white home set would be used but in 1991 special yellow alternatives were produced. It seemed that there was no home equivalent, but a comment by Peter Rapley in this piece on the Gunners’ three-stripe kits caught our eye.

Did you all know that there were also red shorts from the 1990-92 seasons? With a big white stripe on the side and the three adidas stripes inside the white stripe. In other words, the reverse of the home shorts.

This is not an April Fool, but they were never worn by the first team in a competitive game. I have proof – I own a pair.

The April Fool reference is to this piece, and, in a lot of instances, that would have been taken with a grain of salt – our expectation would be that someone was duped by a plain red set of adidas shorts with the Arsenal crest lazily applied, or perhaps a job had been done on a Liverpool set so as to have the matching white panel with three red stripes inside.

However, Peter is not the kind to be fooled and he doesn’t exaggerate on descriptions as you can see from his extensive Arsenal collection – if he doesn’t know what something is, he’ll say so rather than optimistically applying an explanation which is then taken as mistaken gospel by others.

He knows his history, too – about six years ago, we had had heard that Arsenal wore plain white third shirts against Luton in March 1975 but were hitting a brick wall in finding evidence. At the time same time, Peter was on the same quest and he trawled newspaper archives to come up with the goods:

Arsenal 1975

Back to those red shorts – obviously, blessed are those who believe without seeing but we still had to ask Peter if he could provide the pictorial evidence, which he did.

 

Peter says:

They were an eBay purchase some time back.  I was the only bidder.  I was not sure they were 100% genuine when I bought them, but there is no faking that embroidered crest!

That is all I know, other than them never being worn in a first team game.

The fact that the crest is white, as it was on the home shirt, rather than red like on the normal shorts, also adds to the credibility.

Simon Shakeshaft, co-author of The Arsenal Shirtsays that the practice of Arsenal opting to wear a full away kit when a shorts clash arose was down to kitman Tony Donnelly feeling that red shorts ‘wasn’t Arsenal’, so presumably that’s why these weren’t seen.

For the record, this is how they might have looked at Goodison Park, Maine Road and elsewhere.

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A unique three and in for Monaco

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Obviously, you may be aware that we have a fondness for adidas goalkeeper shirts. Part 11 will follow soon and this can be considered a spin-off of the series.

Thanks to Leeds Stats for making us aware of it:

Two days ago, we looked at Legia Warsaw wearing kits by three different makers in the one season and three is again the magic number as we examine a real oddity from Monaco in 1995.

Nowadays, it’s highly unlikely that a substitute goalkeeper would be allowed to wear a shirt different in colour to the starter, given that custodians have to be distinguished from their opposite numbers and the match officials as well as both sets of outfielders.

Back in 1995, it was only sufficient for them to be differentiated from both teams, but it was still a rarity for the sub to have something different from the first-choice and, in any case, goalkeeping substitutions are uncommon so to witness such a phenomenon would be unusual.

When Monaco hosted Leeds in the first round of the 1995-96 UEFA Cup, their goalkeeper Fabien Piveteau wore this top, the design similar to that used by France and Spain at the time.

Monaco-1995-1996-adidas-maillot-gardien-Piveteau-Leeds-01

Early in the game, Piveteau suffered a knock and then made an error for Leeds’ first goal, scored by the very much in-form Tony Yeboah.

Piveteau was replaced at half-time by Marc Delaroche, who wore the Predator design which had premiered at the 1994 World Cup.

Monaco-1995-1996-adidas-maillot-gardien-Delaroche-Leeds-01

Yeboah doubled Leeds’ advantage in the 64th minute with a brilliant curling effort and ten minutes from time he completed his hat-trick. However, in coming off his line to try to close the angle, Delaroche ended up in a nasty collision with defender Basile Boli.

He was stretchered off with his neck in a brace and newly installed Monaco coach was forced to ask one of his subs – current Leicester City manager Claude Puel – to come on in goal.

Obviously wearing the outfield shorts and socks, he put on an orange and yellow version of the newest adidas style which had lasted that summer.

Monaco-1995-1996-adidas-maillot-gardien-Puel-Leeds-01

The midfielder became the only one of the three Monaco goalkeepers on the night to keep a clean sheet as the final ten minutes were goalless.

Monaco did win 1-0 at Elland Road in the return leg, but Leeds had done enough. However, that game did provide one more goalkeeping kit issue of note – Fabien Barthez was chosen by Monaco and he played in a fourth different strip, yellow with black trim.

Monaco-1995-1996-adidas-maillot-gardien-Barthez-Leeds-01

When Legia Warsaw wore kits by three different makers in the one season

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  • This article has been greatly helped by legia.info.pl, which is a superb resource

I write this article in the Legia Warsaw Municipal Stadium, as I await the start of the Champions League first qualifying round second-leg game between the home side and Cork City.

Legia’s traditional colours are green, white and red, like City, and they have similarly worn them in varying patterns over the years. Currently, they tend to favour all-white home kits with black trim, which is a pity considering their historically rich palette.

I first became aware of them in April 1991, when I came home from school and watched them play Manchester United in the first leg of the European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final, in the stadium that stood on this spot back then.

That game, a 3-1 win for United which helped them to a 4-2 aggregate win, sticks in my mind as the first time I had seen a club goalkeeper wear an alternative shirt, with the late Les Sealey having to wear blue (albeit from the previous season) due to Legia having a green strip.

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I did notice that Legia had a big white square on their shirts, but I didn’t question why. Little did I realise the intriguing story behind it, and the fact that the Polish club were on to their third manufacturer of the season.

They had mainly worn adidas during the 1980s, but the kits varied a lot – as was often the case with Eastern European sides – and in 1990-91 they used two adidas templates in green and white.

However, in 1989-90, Legia had taken to the field in Umbro kit on occasion. The source of that? A transfer deal which saw Dariusz Wdowczyk and Dariusz Dziekanowski move to Celtic, with Legia asking that some kit be thrown in too.

Celtic sent teamwear over – Legia won the 1990 Polish Cup final wearing what was essentially the 1988-90 Bhoys kit – and in 90-91 they wore a Feyenoord-like kit against Widzew Lodz (just to annoy their rivals, who are usually red and white) while there was also a green and yellow kit in the style used by Chelsea and Luton. Both were worn with adidas shorts.

Back to the Cup Winners’ Cup. In beating Aberdeen in the last 16, Legia wore a white adidas strip, with the shorts featuring a large stripe, as there were problems in sourcing a green kit.

Their progress in Europe had attracted the interest of various businessmen, and one of them, Andrzej Grajewski, offered to help broker a deal with Italian Lotto. He travelled to Italy with manager Stasiu Terlecki, though Terlecki didn’t have a valid passport at the time, so, in crossing the border back into Poland, he hid in the boot of the car, under the new kit.

The new kit was worn in the Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals against Sampdoria, the template the same as that used by Costa Rica at the previous year’s World Cup – however, when Lotto looked for an image of the Legia crest to reproduce, they were given a pennant and they thought the whole pennant was the badge.

Legia-Warsaw-1991-Lotto-Sampdoria-Muller-Milch-01

Grajewski had pulled another stroke with the kits, asking Lotto to include the wordmark of Müllermilch, for whom he worked at the time. However, as Uefa hadn’t been informed in sufficient time about this development, Legia were threatened with a financial penalty unless the logo was covered.

For the semi-final with United, a different Lotto style was used, feauring a kind of starburst emanating from Lotto logos, but again with the sponsor covered, meaning the effect was obscured.

Legia-Warsaw-1991-Lotto-Manchester-United-Muller-Milch

The Müllermilch logo was allowed to be used in league games, and, though Legia signed a ‘proper’ deal with adidas for 1991-92, the Lotto equipment was occasionally seen.

2018 World Cup kit-tracker – knockout stages

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Second round

France 4 Argentina 3

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Surprisingly, but refreshingly, both sides were allowed to wear their full first-choice kits with no alterations. Argentina exited the tournament having only used one goalkeeper kit.

Uruguay 2 Portugal 1

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Spain 1 Russia 1 (aet, 3-4 on penalties)

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Russia’s home kit had match details in the middle but on the away, they were below the crest. The goalkeeper’s shirt followed suit for each game, meaning that Igor Akinfeev wore his blue (and green) kits with two different inscription versions.

Croatia 1 Denmark 1 (aet, 3-2 on penalties)

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With both of Denmark’s kits clashing with Croatia’s home, the two teams changed.

Brazil 2 Mexico 0

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In 2014, Mexico wore their away kit when the countries met in the group stage so it was nice to see both tri-coloured home strips here.

Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker switched to black, though his bright green was unlikely to have caused confusion with Mexico’s darker shade.

Belgium 3 Japan 2

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This was certainly a match-up which would have resulted in one side changing kit in previous tournaments, but common sense continued to prevail in the knockout stages.

Sweden 1 Switzerland 0

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Colombia 1 England 1 (aet, 3-4 on penalties)

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With Colombia continuing to favour white shorts and socks, England wore their alternative away shorts, as they had done against Tunisia.

Quarter-finals

Uruguay 0 France 2

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A fifth kit combination in as many games for France.

Brazil 1 Belgium 2

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Sweden 0 England 2

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All-red for England again despite Sweden’s blue shorts – their kitman Pat Frost said that Fifa had ordered the change as Robin Olsen’s shorts were a light shade.

Russia 2 Croatia 2 (aet, 3-4 on penalties)

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The expectation might have been that Russia would have to change too, but they were allowed to wear their home shirts, with the proper socks back in action.

Semi-finals

France 1 Belgium 0

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Another different combination for France, with the shorts changed too even though only the socks clashed. We’d have liked to have seen them in blue-white-white.

Croatia 2 England 1 (aet)

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Despite being the away team, England were able to wear their home shirts, with the away shorts getting their first outing of the competition.

Croatia equalled France’s record from 2006 of wearing their change shirts for the fifth time.

Third-place play-off

Belgium 2 England 0

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The outcome was the same as their group game but the visual was different as both teams wore their change kits, meaning England wore their proper away strip for the first time, their fourth different combination.

Final

France 4 Croatia 2

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No seventh combination for France, but they won’t have minded. Croatia wore their home shirts for the first time since the Nigeria game, though again with white socks – along with Colombia, Egypt and Costa Rica, they didn’t get to wear their full first-choice outfit in the tournament.

Ten World Cup away kits which weren’t used

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  • This article is a collaboration with the excellent RB Jerseys

The 2018 World Cup ends today with 30 of the 32 teams having used both their first and second-choice shirts at the competition. The odd sides out are Japan and Poland – their final Group H game would have been an opportunity for both to change, but this didn’t happen.

 

Unsurprisingly, to have just two away shirts unworn is a record, though one which will probably be beaten in future tournaments.

We decided to delve into the archives and pick one unused change kit from each of the past ten World Cups.

1978 – Scotland

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The shorts from this kit did see action against Peru and Iran, though the white shirts and socks remained in the hamper.

Perhaps fearful of looking too much like England, Scotland opted for red change shirts for much of the early 80s, followed by yellow.

1982 – Belgium

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Another kit which had its shorts used with the home shirts – though oddly against Argentina and not Poland – it was a pity that the yellow taping on the shorts didn’t have the red and black trim as on the shirts and socks.

1986 – England

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Yes, a sky-blue rather than red change kit for England in Mexico – Simon Shakeshaft says it, and we wouldn’t doubt him.

The heat was a factor in the decision (clearly, the 1970 black-and-white TV confusion wasn’t raised), though the red was brought as a third kit, primarily used for training.

The shorts and socks from this kit were used against Argentina in the quarter-finals.

1990 – Italy

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The hosts were able to wear their first kit in all seven of their games at Italia 90, and it’s a pity that this wasn’t called upon.

While Italy often used the home shorts and socks with their away shirts, it’s safe to assume that they had alternative versions for the competition.

1994 – Cameroon

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While a 1994 star-adorned shirt calls to mind the hosts USA, Cameroon also had this back-up shirt though they didn’t need to change against Brazil, Sweden or Russia.

(We’ve made an educated guess on the placement of the shirt-front number.)

1998 – Brazil

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Brazil wore blue in three games en route to winning in 1994, but four years later they didn’t have to change from their yellow shirts.

Had they done, they would have worn these shirts, in the same style but in the usual blue and white palette. The shorts and socks were used against Chile.

2002 – Spain

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Between their 1994 quarter-final defeat to Italy and the 2010 group game against Chile, Spain only wore an away kit once, against Nigeria in 1998.

This strip was one of those not to grace the World Cup but it did see action in other games – the blue equivalent wasn’t used at all.

2006 – Germany

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After wearing green against England in the 1990 semi-final, Germany’s next time to wear something other than white at the World Cup was the 2010 clash with Ghana.

Under Jürgen Klinsmann, red was favoured as an alternative colour and, had they needed to change as hosts in 2006, they would have donned this imaginative style – a shirt with asymmetrical sleeve colours wouldn’t be allowed nowadays, though.

2010 – Nigeria

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A lot of people were disappointed that Nigeria had to wear their change kit in two games out of three at the 2018 World Cup, but in 2010 they were able to use their first strip in all three games.

The alternative was an adidas template, but the use of the green shoulder panels meant that the shirt had adidas striping into two different colours.

2014 – Croatia

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Croatia’s first kit can often prove troublesome – while they will wear their famous chequered shirts in the final, it will be with white alternative socks, ending the tournament without having worn their full home strip.

In 2014, they were able to wear the primary shirt against Brazil, Cameroon and Mexico, meaning this smart blue outfit wasn’t called upon.

One-offs – Meath, 2000

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Today, July 14, is an historic day in Gaelic football as the new All-Ireland senior football quarter-final comes into play.

For the first time, the last eight are divided into two groups of four in a round-robin format, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.

Ireland is divided into four (uneven) provinces, each of which runs a knockout championship. Until the end of 2000, each provincial champion advanced to the All-Ireland semi-finals, but a change of system came the following year.

It allowed teams beaten in their province a second chance in a national knockout qualifier series, with each new round bringing more sides which had been eliminated from the provincial championships.

When the qualifiers were whittled down to four, they then joined the four provincial winners in the new All-Ireland quarter-finals. In the very first year of the new system, 2001, Galway became the first team to win the All-Ireland having previously lost a game. With this new addition to the fixtures programme, it will be possible for a county to triumph despite losing two or even three games out of eight or nine.

All of that preamble is a way of getting to the meat of this feature, a look at the kit worn by the last reigning All-Ireland champions to only play one game, Meath in 2000. (Incidentally, the Irish word for province is cúige, which is derived from cúig, the word for five – historically, the fifth province was Meath, where the High Kings resided. Over time, Meath split, with the new part becoming Westmeath. Both Meath and Westmeath are now in Leinster.)

For the 2000 Leinster championship, Meath were drawn with Offaly in the quarter-finals. Both counties were green, white and gold and while there had been changes of colours in the past, during the 90s this had stopped happening.

In 2000, though, sense prevailed in that both counties were to wear alternative jerseys. Offaly wore white jerseys with green and gold stripes around the shoulders – derived from the 1982 All-Ireland-winning change kit – and Meath wore gold jerseys with green trim.

However, this was unlike anything worn by the county before or since. The gold and green were far darker than the traditional shades, while the sleeves were noticeably shorter.

The chevron motif would become common among O’Neills’ designs in the early 2000s and while the players wore the older, lighter green, socks, most wore them around the ankles so they didn’t jar that badly.

Meath-2000-O'Neills-change-jersey-Offaly-01

A possible inspiration for the sleeves was that, during Meath’s successful run to the title in 1999, one of their key players, Trevor Giles, had taken to cutting his own sleeves to guard against shirt-pulling.

We asked Giles about this a few years ago as part of a feature on infamous GAA jerseys, but he said he didn’t have a direct role.

There was a fairly unusual one we wore against Offaly in 2000, gold with dark green trim and very short sleeves. We lost though and the following year we had a more ‘normal’ design, maybe if we’d have won we might have gone with a green version of this.

The previous couple of years I had gone off on a tangent and taken to cutting off my sleeves and I kept doing it because we were winning, but I actually didn’t have anything to do with these, they were just what arrived from O’Neills the week of the game.

Despite the result, a lot of the lads actually liked it and maybe it’s more memorable because it was only worn in one game.

As Giles mentioned, Meath were beaten and it’s one of the great unanswered GAA kit questions as to whether they would have received a green version of the new style for the Leinster semi-final against Kildare.

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While their new jerseys for 2001 did feature the darker green, it was only as a trim colour with the normal emerald retaining its primacy.

Season’s meetings, no. 6 – Brazil and Sweden, 1994 World Cup

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  • See here for previous Season’s Meetings articles

Today’s World Cup third-place play-off will see England and Belgium wear their change kits, having been in their usual colours when they met earlier in the competition.

It brought to mind a similar situation from a previous World Cup, albeit one involving more legitimate reasons for alternative kits to be worn.

Brazil and Sweden were in Group B together in the 1994 World Cup and for their meeting on the Astroturf of the Pontiac Silverdome, Sweden were the home team, meaning Brazil changed to their second strip.

A 1-1 draw was enough for both sides to advance to the second stage, with Brazil topping the group. A 1-0 win over the USA brought them to the quarter-finals against the Netherlands.

Meetings between Brazil and Holland have been dealt with inconsistently by Fifa over the years – both wore home kits in the 1998 semi-final, for instance – but here a changed was ordered.

As the away team, the Dutch wore white but it was felt that that didn’t provide enough differentiation against Brazil’s yellow, so they wore the blue and white kit again.

Sweden also made it to the last eight after a win over Saudi Arabia, and their quarter-final also saw two away kits worn. It was a similar situation as Romania were the home team but Sweden’s away was white, so Romania wore red.

Brazil beat the Netherlands 3-2 while Sweden got past Romania on penalties, meaning the sides would meet again in the semi-finals. Brazil were the home team, but because of Sweden’s white away kit, they had to wear blue again, this time with the home shorts.

It didn’t affect them though as Romario’s goal earned them a 1-0 win and they went on to beat Italy on penalties in the final.

Fantasy Kit Friday – France and Croatia mid-90s Nike and 2018 adidas

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Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia will be the first to be contested by two sides wearing Nike kits (coupled with Portugal’s 2016 European Championship win, it will be the first time that Nike will have ‘held’ the world and European titles at the same time).

Croatia have been with Nike since 2000, while France coupled with the American firm in 2010. When they met in the 1998 World Cup semi-final, it was adidas v Lotto:

 

For this week’s Fantasy Kit Friday, we decided to go back to Nike’s big push into football in the mid-1990s. While France obviously had a more traditional colourway back then, we kept the current scheme and applied it to the 1996-98 Arsenal template.

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For Croatia, we went back a bit further, taking elements from the Borussia Dortmund and Paris St-Germain kits.

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And then Simon Treanor suggested something else:

Of course, it made us wonder why we hadn’t thought of it ourselves. Retro vibes have underpinned most of adidas’s offerings at the World Cup and so we felt that was the best route to follow.

For France, we felt it’d be too obvious to go down the 1984/1998 route and so instead we revisited their 1990-92 kit (with the traditional colour-scheme restored).

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For Croatia, the option to use adidas’s Condivo template was tempting, given that it is kind of chequered, but nothing worked to our satisfaction and so instead we refreshed the Lotto 1998 style.

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