Fantasy Kit Friday – Nigeria 2018 World Cup special


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Today is the day so many kit aficionados have been waiting for – Nigeria will wear their home kit in the World Cup game against Iceland in Volgograd.


Whatever your views are on the kit, there’s no denying that it has captured the collective imagination, with Nike claiming that it broke records in terms of selling out. Obviously, the eagle motif is specifically Nigeria – though perhaps could be adapted for Lazio or Crystal Palace – but when the question was put out there, we couldn’t resist:

Time constraints have prevented us from doing all 32, but we did manage nine countries. We know that some are terrible and some ideas didn’t quite land (the Switzerland cross, for example), but it was still worth doing.

2018 World Cup kit-tracker – Groups E and F


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Costa Rica 0 Serbia 1


Group E is the only one not to feature any team with adidas kits. Costa Rica wear New Balance and it’s a tidy design, with narrow tonal stripes across the front representing DNA.

Serbia were a late addition to the Puma stable, meaning they are wearing modified teamwear rather rather than a fully bespoke kit, but it’s still a nice offering, albeit with a mash of different shades of red.

Brazil 1 Switzerland 1


Having worn white shorts so much at the last World Cup, it was good to see Brazil back in their traditional look, with the shorts a slightly lighter shade of blue than recent years. Incidentally, their goalkeeper Alisson Becker had no pattern on his sleeves, while Brazil’s frontal numbers are central, unlike the other Nike countries.

Switzerland’s shirts feature a topographical map of the country. Referee César Arturo Ramos of Mexico opted to wear long sleeves.

Germany 0 Mexico 1


In contrast to Group E, four the Group F residents wear adidas and this was another game where, mercifully, both teams could wear their first-choice outfits.

Germany’s kit references the victorious 1990 strip, with stripes of three varying widths giving a grey effect. Perhaps fittingly, the champions patches began to peel off the German shirts during this game.

Mexico’s look also harked back to adidas days of old, though to a 1993-94 design they hadn’t themselves worn (they were Umbro at the time).

Sweden 1 Korea Republic 0


Sweden’s smart kit has a very faint pattern featuring the diagonal parallelograms which were ubiquitous on adidas shirts in the 1980s. Their goalkeeper Robin Olsen wore the same colour-scheme as Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, though with different colour neck, arm panels, shorts and socks.

According to Nike, Korea Republic’s away kit recognises the country’s global contributions. Preventing a nuclear war between the USA and North Korea until their leaders met is worthy of acknowledgement.


Midweek Mashup – Scotland, 1978



The kit France wore against Australia at the weekend came in for some comment and criticism – apparently, Fifa were concerned about the similarity of their red socks with the gold of their opponents so they wore navy sets.


The red socks will be back on Thursday when they face Peru – but the famous tricolore won’t be seen as the white shorts will be swapped for navy so as to not to clash with the South American side.

It won’t be the first time a team playing Peru in the World Cup will have worn navy-navy-red, though – that was Scotland 40 years ago.


Scotland had worn orange shorts with their home shirts before that, but this was a new departure. The look seemed to be a lucky charm when Joe Jordan put them ahead in the 14th minute, but Peru levelled before half-time and added two more goals in the second half.

The same combination was worn in the 1-1 draw against the all-white-clad Iran, meaning Scotland had little to play for in their final game aguainst the Netherlands (see here for a close look at the Dutch kits worn in the 1978 competition).

Back in their traditional navy-white-red, they won 3-1 and Archie Gemmill scored a goal featured in Trainspotting. In 2014, adidas gave Scotland a kit with navy shorts and dark red socks, but we’re not sure if Peru or Iran featured in the official marketing copy.

World Cup Classics – France, 1978: allez les verts et blancs


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  • Last week marked the 40th anniversary of France having to wear green and white stripes against Hungary at the World Cup. He’s a look at what transpired, written by Jess Cully
  • For another game where Hungary and their opponents both emerged on to the pitch in white shirts, see here

Football anoraks of a certain age like myself will remember fondly how the French turned out in a green and white strip, some players with wrong numbers, for their final group game with Hungary in Mar del Plata at the 1978 World Cup, a match that was meaningless as both teams were already out. Here is the full story of how it happened.

In 1978, much of the world still watched TV in black and white so wherever possible televised football matches had to be contested by one team in light strips and one in dark. With that in mind, in February 1978, FIFA wrote to the French and Hungarian FAs to advise them that Hungary should play the World Cup game against France in their red home strip, and France should wear their white away kit.

However, in late April or early May, FIFA changed their minds, and decided that France should wear their blue home strip and Hungary their white away kit.

Alas, FFF official Henri Patrelle gave this communiqué only a cursory glance, binned it and forgot about it. So, come the day of the match, both teams turned up in Mar del Plata with only their white strips.

No-one guessed anything was up until the French took to the field to warm up, blue tracksuit tops over their white shirts. Their opponents were already out on the pitch – in a full red tracksuit, so even their white socks were covered.

Henri Michel noticed something suspiciously white-looking under their tops.

“White shirt?” Michel asked Peter Torocsik.

“White shirt,” came the reply.

The French officials were asked where their blue shirts were. The answer was 400km away in Buenos Aires.

A couple of World Cup gophers were rapidly despatched in a car to ask a local football side, Club Atlético Kimberley, if they had a set of dark strip to lend the French. Green and white stripes were, and are, their colours and they agreed.


Here is where the story gets interesting from a squad numbers point of view – the Kimberley shirts had no numbers.

Aside from the goalkeepers, who wore 1, 21 and 22, France’s squad was numbered in positional blocks – 2-8 for defenders, 9-15 for midfielders and 16-20 for attackers (including wingers), though with one exception as striker Marc Berdoll wore 14 when really he should have been 15 with Michel Platini 14.


France’s lineout with the players’ World Cup squad numbers

It wasn’t until the 1994 World Cup that teams were allowed to have all of the non-starting players on the bench, and so, for the Hungary match, France’s squad of 16 included Bernard Lacombe (17), Dominique Rocheteau (18), Didier Six (19 – though you’d think coach Michel Hidalgo would have given him 6) and Olivier Rouyer (20).

There were only 14 outfield shirts in the Kimberley set. They didn’t mind the French ironing numbers onto their shirts, but they drew the line at having gaps in their numeration. The shirts would have to be numbered 2-11 and 13-16 (in Argentina, 12 is for the substitute goalkeeper).

So, after kick-off was held up for 40 minutes for the numbers to be ironed on, the teams finally took to the field, with Rocheteau wearing 7, Rouyer 11, and Claude Papi, whose squad number was 12, wearing 10. On the subs’ bench, Six wore 16 and Lacombe, though an attacking midfielder, had to wear 2 as it was the only remaining shirt. He wasn’t brought on so we didn’t get to see a number 2 making surging forward runs from the middle. The French blue away shorts had numbers, so these five players turned out with one number on their shirt and another on their shorts.


France’s lineout with the shirt numbers worn against Hungary

The French players weren’t put off by these shenanigans – they won 3-1. Some of the Kimberley players were in the crowd, flushed with pride at their shirts seeing World Cup action. Given the craze for referencing old kits with modern launch, perhaps Nike might one day give France a green and white away shirt?


2018 World Cup kit-tracker – Groups C and D


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France 2 Australia 1


VAR and goal-line technology played roles as France got off to a winning start in the first game not to feature a team wearing adidas (the officials’ kits are made by the Germany company but they’re bereft of logos).

We actually quite like the three-tone blue of the French kit, but would have preferred the traditional red socks. Australia’s shirts feature a unique sleeve design – a wave design based on a rallying cry for a ‘sea of gold’.

Peru 0 Denmark 1


A meeting of two of the nicest kits in the tournament, for our money. Denmark switching to red shots.

Peru are Umbro’s only contract at the finals and if we were to have on quibble it’s the way the front number is applied, creeping onto the sash – surprisingly, the back number sits flush on the sash whereas Fifa insist the likes of Croatia must have a plain back.

Denmark’s shirt features a number of subtle details, while the goalkeeper’s outfit mirrors the design.

Argentina 1 Iceland 1


Two excellent kits, though we feel that both countries could have worn their home kits without too much trouble.

Argentina’s black change shirts are based on the 1993 change strip, although that was navy – we’ll have to dock a mark for the fact that the shoulder stripes are all white whereas the home shorts and away socks are sky blue-white-sky blue.

Volcanoes and geysers provided the inspiration for Iceland’s sleeve-design, while the red goalkeeper kit was pleasingly complementary.

Croatia 2 Nigeria 0


Fans of Nigeria’s new home kit were left disappointed as they instead wore a solid dark green change kit – Croatia were forced to switch to white socks from blue as a result. Their famous chequered pattern is larger than usual this time around.

2018 World Cup kit-tracker


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Portugal 3 Spain 3


The first draw of the tournament was a cracking game, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick for Portugal, the equaliser a free kick late on.

They were in their home kit, which retained the red shorts and green socks from their successful Euro 2016 campaign. Goalkeeper Rui Patricio was in a black kit, but the sleeve pattern looked to be a cut-off long-sleeved version rather than the short-sleeved version which Saudi netminder Abdullah Al-Mayouf had.

Spain’s shirts were described as ‘halo blue’ by adidas but looked like washed-out white in practice. The pattern takes it cues from that used by the Netherlands at Euro 88. Like the rest of the adidas nations, their match inscription was in English whereas Portugal’s was in Portuguese.

Morocco 0 Iran 1


A late own goal saw Iran take victory. As well as their crest, the Asian side had a small circular cheetah logo beneath the necks of their shirts – previously, this had featured as an imprint but this kit was catalogue teamwear.

In fact, their white adidas Tabela template was an reverse of Morocco’s – the north African country’s kit release had been delayed so as not to give much time to counterfeiters to produce their versions.

It was the third game in a row for the blue Adipro goalkeeper shirt to feel, accompanied by its orange colleague.

Egypt 0 Uruguay 1


You are Fifa, and you have a black-sock clash to deal with. Do you tell Egypt to change to red-white-white or red-white-red, or get Uruguay to wear sky blue-black-sky blue? Do you fuck.

You summon the spirit of 1990 and make Uruguay wear white against red opponents, but that creates a shorts-clash so Egypt have to don their away set.

Oh, and the white text under the World Cup logo doesn’t show up great on a yellow referee’s shirt.

Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0


The hosts began on a great note, recording the biggest win in an opening game.

Like so many other adidas teams, they have been given retro stylings, though oddly the design it references was only used by the USSR at the 1988 Olympics. Blue doesn’t feature on the shirt or shorts but is relatively prominent on the socks, helping to create a Russian flag effect. The team’s shirts also featured a small inscription with game details between the adidas logo and crest.

Saudi Arabia’s home kit is all-white so there was a shorts-clash to solve but, rather than wearing white-green-white, they wore their entire change kit, despite the fact that Fifa have been reluctant to allow red shirts v green shirts in the past.

When the away shirt was launched, the ‘KSA’ below the crest was in white, but now it’s dark green. The plainness and the simple number font give it something of an ‘unlicensed team from Pro Evo‘ look.

Both goalkeepers wore their respective kit-makers’ primary templates.

Fantasy Kit Friday – England Umbro, 2014


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We do keep a list of all of the requests people put in for FKF, but occasionally we mislay the details of who actually made a particular one and we apologise.

That was the case for the Coventry Kappa kit back in March and it’s the scenario here, if England had still had Umbro in 2014.

While the double-diamond didn’t have a huge number of contracts left after being stripped by Nike, they still had Everton, whose home kit style we used, and the Republic of Ireland, who provide the away design.


Midweek Mashup – Hull City and Darlington, 2001-02


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  • Today, we feature a guest post by Les Motherby, part of the team behind Hull City Kits. He looks at the Tigers’ use of amber alternative shorts and the game which was the catalyst for their introduction

In recent years, amber alternate shorts have become a kitset staple for Hull City, brought out whenever a clash is caused by the home kit’s black shorts, rather than the amber and black striped shirts that inspired the club’s big-cat nickname back in 1905.

So accepted have amber shirts become that there was no murmuring of disapproval in 2014 when City wore them at home in a Europa League qualifier against Belgian side Lokeren. Had we not been eliminated on away goals that night, it’s possible amber shorts in Europe would have become a thing in the manner of Spurs in all-white and Manchester United in white socks when playing under floodlights in Uefa competition.

Amber shorts are very much a 21st-century innovation though, something we could very much have done with in previous seasons – I recall a particularly rancid kit incident at Exeter in August 1999, which saw us borrow the Grecians’ purple change shorts and socks, pairing them with our home shirts to horrific effect. A set of amber alternate shorts would have spared the aesthetic sensibilities of all in the ground that day.

That wasn’t the inspiration for the advent of amber alternate shorts however – let me tell you that story…

Some 17 years ago, in early 2001, I was invited to meet the new Hull City owner Adam Pearson as one of the editors of the Amber Nectar fanzine. The Tigers had been bought by Pearson when they were in financial administration, the inevitable result of several years of maladministration by a succession of owners that were in turn apathetic and inept, naive and impetuous, and downright kleptocratic.

Things were looking up with the impressive Adam Pearson though, who had cut his teeth in business managing the Hull branch of Marks & Spencer and was an executive at Leeds United in the late 1990sm when they were cutting a swathe through Europe. After the solemn topics of moving stadium and managerial candidates were discussed in our meeting, I directed conversation – like the unabashed kit-geek I am – to how Hull City would dress in this new, financially solvent, era.

Pearson said he wanted to have a gold home kit and a silver away. I hid my disappointment – the bloke had just saved the club from financial oblivion after all, but my dismay was threefold:

  1. The pedant in me was irked by the nomenclature of ‘gold’; we play in amber!
  2. Stating one colour means solid-tone shirts, and I prefer us to wear striped shirts; Hull City pretty much own that look in English football.
  3. Silver? That’s difficult to pull off. It could just look grey, we were just five years on from Manchester United’s ill-fated day at Southampton, after all.

As it turned out, my worries about the ‘gold’ kit were unfounded. Sure, I prefer striped shirts, but plain amber shirts with black trim can look smart and this was such an example. Patrick0branded, the shirt was superficially similar to our Umbro ‘continental’ shirts from the late 1950s: solid amber, featuring a subtle jacquard weave rib that made the shirt glisten in the sun, with a contrast black v-neck and black piping under the arms.

The silver shirt wasn’t so bad either, the same basic design as the home shirt with v-neck and underarm piping but much looser fitting. What was curious, though, was the pairing of navy blue shorts and socks with the silver shirts. This meant that both primary and change kits had light shirts and dark shorts, which would prove to be an issue in the October when City went to Darlington in late October.

Not though, when City travelled to Pride Park for a League Cup tie against Derby in mid-September. Hull City wore their full away kit, silver shirts with navy shorts and socks, while Derby wore their familiar white shirts, black shorts and white socks. Referee Graham Laws clearly didn’t think this constituted a clash.

Yet his officiating colleague Mike Jones, assigned the Division 3 clash of Darlington v Hull City soon after, evidently thought differently. The Tigers took only their away kit, and the referee took exception to the Tiger’s navy shorts, so instructed City to wear a borrowed white set from the Quakers.

Poor Rodney Rowe, a man with an arse that would prompt remarks from Sir Mix-A-Lot, looked like he had his shorts painted on, they were that tight. Clearly, Darlo’s number 10 had a more slender frame than ours.

So the game kicks off, with Darlo in white shirts, black shorts and white socks and Hull City in silver shirts, borrowed white shorts and navy socks. Job’s a good ‘un, eh ref? Nope.

Just six minutes into the game and Jones orders a change, compelling Darlo to swap their shirts, creating the unedifying spectacle of eleven players hurling white shirts at the bench as the kitman frantically threw red shirts back to the players.

To add insult to Darlo’s kit injuries, City won 1-0 courtesy of a Gary Alexander penalty after Rodney Rowe was felled inside the box. Darlington players made it clear they though Rowe had taken a dive, but maybe the pain of his skintight shorts is what really sent him tumbling.

To prevent a reoccurrence of the shambles at Feethams, the Tigers commissioned some amber alternate shorts, and they were pressed into service within a fortnight of the Darlington game. They made a debut at Lincoln as Hull City lost 2-1, and a second and final appearance at Luton in a 1-0 win.


Now I was too far away from the pitch at both SIncil Bank and at Kenilworth Road to see any detail on the shorts, but, looking over some match photography some years later, I noticed a pattern that surprised me. The shorts had a jacquard pattern very different from the simple ribbed look created by a herringbone weave of the primary shirts. This pattern was of repeated diamonds that contained chevrons. a pattern also used on Boston United’s home shirts.

It was safe to conclude that wherever the Patrick-logo-carrying amber alternate shorts for Hull City were made was also where Boston’s ‘Paulas Benara’-branded shirts were put together.

The reason Hull City were able to order, receive and wear an amber shorts set within weeks of the Darlo fiasco was they were made at a factory just 18 miles north of Hull, in the East Yorkshire village of Driffield. That was the base of Dewhirst, a clothing manufacturer and long time supplier to Marks & Spencer, before they shifted operations to London and Cheshire, and the actual manufacturing to Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

They were the company behind apparel branded by Patrick, Paulas Benara and O’Neills in the early 2000s, and the sportswear section of their website proclaims them to be currently responsible for Puma, Nike and Umbro designs. The latter firm’s wares are shown in the form of the 2015-16 Hull City home shirt, which of course was paired several times with amber alternate shorts, which makes you wonder: would amber shorts have become a staple part of the Tigers’ wardrobe if it hadn’t been for the fiasco at Feethams, leading to the look first seen at Lincoln?

1990 World Cup – all of the kits worn


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  • You’ll notice we have the word ‘worn’ in the title – change kits which didn’t get game-time aren’t included. That’s preferable to including some and then missing others we mightn’t be aware of
  • The labelling we’ve used is ‘Primary’ for the country’s first-choice kit and ‘Change’ for the second shirt; ‘Alternative’ is a kit which has different shorts or socks to the accepted make-up of a kit
  • For more information about each kit and when it was worn, see the following: Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Knockout Stages
  • Oh, and we did something similar for the 1970 World Cup







Costa Rica






Republic of Ireland



South Korea







West Germany


Match Officials

1990 World Cup kit-tracker – knockout stage


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Second round

Cameroon 2 Colombia 1 (aet)


A game remembered for Roger Milla’s goal as he dispossessed René Higuita, who had gone on an ill-advised dribble up the field. Higuita had clearly been impressed by the blue jersey Bodo Illgner wore against Colombia, as he was in a grey version.

His team-mates wore their yellow away shirts (Colobmbia wouldn’t change their home colours from red until 1992), which had different blue shorts to the home kit.

Their yellow socks meant Cameroon changed to green sets – even though there hadn’t been a problem with the Indomitable Lions against yellow-blue-red when they met Romania. Nor was the amount of green on Thomas N’Kono’s shirt considered a problem.

Costa Rica 1 Czechoslovakia 4


Tomáš Skuhravý scored a hat-trick for the Czechs, who wore their home socks with their change shirts.

Costa Rica wore a different red shirt to that of the group stages, with a red collar and a Lotto logo watermark. Having contravened the rules on logoless socks earlier, they wore the plain white away set here.

Meanwhile, having been there, done that and worn the three shirts, goalkeeper Luis Gabelo Conejo got injured, meaning that Hermido Barrantes took his place.

He wore a yellow version of the purple and green tops Conejo had worn, as well as having his number on his shorts.

Brazil 0 Argentina 1


Brazil changed socks with Argentina wearing the white shorts from their away kit, the darker blue jarring with the rest.

Goycochea wore a ‘space invaders’ shirt for the first time, with the pattern the same way up as Egypt’s Ahmed Shoubeir rather than like Higuita, but arranged differently.

West Germany 2 Netherlands 1


Both sides in their home strips and first-choice goalkeeper shirts.

  • Republic of Ireland 0 Romania 0 (aet, 5-4 on penalties)


Unlike 1987 against Brazil, Packie Bonner was given a proper grey adidas jersey and it was his penalty save from Daniel Timofte which allowed David O’Leary to score the penalty which sent Ireland into the quarter-finals.

The shirt differed from the yellow in that the stripes only ran to the shoulders.

Italy 2 Uruguay 0


Uruguay wore their home shorts – with larger numbers. Given how strict Fifa are nowadays, it would be difficult to imagine a game with one team in white shirts and either goalkeeper in a grey/silver so light.

Spain 1 Yugoslavia 2 (aet)


Yugoslavia changed to their away kit, with goalkeeper Tomislav Ivković wearing a proper adidas shirt instead of a rebadged Uhlsport. His top – officially named Montevideo rather than ‘scribbles’ –  differed from Jan Stejskal’s and Tony Meola’s in that the pattern was entirely grey.

England 1 Belgium 0 (aet)


David Platt scored a winner in injury time at the end of extra time, both sides in first-choice kits.


Argentina 0 Yugoslavia 0 (aet, 3-2 on penalties)


A first outing for Argentina’s change shirts, worn with the home shorts and socks while Yugoslavia wore their red socks.

One difference among the Argentina team was that Diego Maradona opted to wear a pair of Napoli away socks, featuring the Ennerre logo. They didn’t help him to score his penalty in the shootout, but Goycochea’s heroics saw them through.

Argentina-1990-adidas-away-kit-Yugoslavia-Maradona-Napoli-socks-01Italy 1 Republic of Ireland 0


Magic socks couldn’t help Maradona and meeting Pope John Paul II wasn’t enough to save Ireland as Toto Schillaci scored again.

West Germany 1 Czechoslovakia 0


Another straightforward home kit v home kit game for Germany.

England 3 Cameroon 2 (aet)


Two Cameroon goals in five second-half minutes had them on course for victory but a pair of Gary Lineker penalties sent England through.


Italy 1 Argentina 1 (aet, 3-4 on penalties)


Schillaci netted again, but Claudio Caniggia equalised for Argentina and Goycochea came up trumps in the shootout again.

Having considered Argentina’s stripes to clash with blue shirts and white shorts in the previous round, Fifa allowed both home strips here.

England 1 West Germany 1 (aet, 3-4 on penalties)


Both sides had worn their home kits up until now, with England winning the toss for colours.

As with their home strip, Germany had had the same basic change kit since 1988, but originally it had a collar. Penalty misses by Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle meant that Germany advanced.

Third-place play-off

Italy 2 England 1


The purpose of this fixture was actually to reward the two teams who had gone through the tournament wearing only one kit (and not having to change goalkeeper shirts), it just so happened that they were the two beaten semi-finalists.


West Germany 1 Argentina 0


It was the same final pairing as four years previously, when Argentina had won in their home kit.

This time, they were in the darker blue, with Goycochea wearing the same socks as the rest of the team.

A penalty decided it for Germany – having scored from the spot against Czechoslovakia, captain Lothar Matthäus declined to take the kick when they were awarded it as he was wearing a new pair of boots.

Instead, his Inter Milan clubmate Andreas Brehme, normally left-footed, scored with his right foot to give them glory.