World Cup Classics no. 1 – Sweden away, 1994
Is it too early for World Cup fever? We don’t think so.
During the World Cup itself, we’ll be tracking the kits worn in each game – both teams, goalkeepers and officials – and to build up the anticipation, we’ll be retrospective versions for two previous competitions.
We’re not ignoring the other 18 World Cups either though as, each Monday evening, we’ll focus on a classic kit from one of them. First up is the white Sweden away kit worn as they finished third at USA 94.
Typically, the Swedes had had blue as an alternative choice – like when they met Brazil in 1990 and wore this excellent kit – but presumable the effects of the heat of an American summer on Swedish heads played a part in this new departure.
As with Italia 90, Sweden were in the game group as Brazil but they had first choice when they met in Detroit.
After seeing off Saudi Arabia in the last 16, Sweden met Romania in the quarter-finals. As the ‘away’ team, Sweden changed, but because of FIFA’s aversion to dark colours against dark colours and light against lights, Romania wore red.
Sweden won on penalties after an entertaining game to advance to another clash with Brazil, and it was a similar situation, all-blue against all-white.
A 1-0 defeat meant the end of Sweden’s journey but they secured third place with a 4-0 play-off win against Bulgaria.
They missed out on qualification for the 1998 World Cup but made it back for 2002. They intended to once again have a white change shirt in Japan and South Korea, but a late FIFA intervention meant that blue was worn instead.
3 thoughts on “World Cup Classics no. 1 – Sweden away, 1994”
I’ve only seen the 1958 World Cup Final in black and white but, have to say, my favourite Sweden-Brazil clash, for the kits, is Mar del Plata in 1978.
The game’s more renowned for Clive Thomas’s uber-pedantic, attention-seeking, policy-changing disallowing of a late Brazil winner. But both sides in long-sleeved Adidas and Sweden looking a bit like Brazil 1958 in their blue shirts … lovely.
… also – another slight tangent – Romania v Colombia at USA 1994 has to be the most straight-out glaringly colourful collision of strips I’d ever seen … until Cameroon played Croatia at Brazil 2014.
I remember being told by a Swedish friend back in 2002 that the white away shirt got vetoed by FIFA because the design had yellow “raglan” sleeves, and thus wasn’t easy to distinguish from other teams’ shirts that were predominantly yellow.
Add to that FIFA’s pedantic dark/light rule, and this shirt never got worn in a competitive game (for me to know of anyway), though the away shorts did of course get an airing in Sweden’s opening World Cup match against Engl*nd.