World Cup Classics no. 2 – Belgium, 1982

At the end of last week’s first feature in this series, the Sweden 1994 away kit, we mentioned how the Swedes were prevented from having a white change strip for the 2002 competition, and this week’s entry wouldn’t be allowed nowadays either.

Apart from England, Admiral also supplied Belgium for the 1982 World Cup and they made sure everybody knew about it.

As well as the ‘normal’ applications of their logo on the right breast of the shirt and the left leg of the shorts, it was also repeated along thick yellow stripes which travelled from the arms down the sides of the shirt and on to the shorts (the same route as the Coventry and Wales ‘tramlines’). Such brand exposure far exceeds modern limits.

There is a possibility that, if you were to ask the casual fan what the Belgian kit was for the World Cup in Spain, they might say red shirts, white shorts and red socks. That’s what was worn in their opening game, a 1-0 win against Argentina at the Nou Camp, a game which provided an iconic – and somewhat misleading – image of Diego Maradona and six Belgian players (click here for the real story behind it).


The white shorts were from the away kit, which followed the same design as the red strip, and the change must have been one of those illogical FIFA decisions due to a perceived shorts-clash.

For their other two Group 3 games, another 1-0 win over El Salvador and a 1-1 draw with Hungary, Belgium were in the all-red which had superseded the red-black-red look. Note how the red shorts had a different number font to the white.


That progressed them to the 12-team second round, where countries were drawn in groups of three.  In their first Group A game, Belgium played Poland, who were in their usual white-red-white but, while this was obviously more of a shorts-clash than the Argentina tie, no change was mandated.

A Ziggy Boniek hat-trick gave Poland a 3-0 win to put Belgium on the back foot and they were out after a 1-0 loss to the USSR – though, as they won the toss for colours, it meant they exited the competition having played all five games in their traditional red shirts.

With Admiral in financial trouble, Belgium soon returned to adidas, who gave them an interesting design featuring an argyle pattern – something of which we shall see more this summer.


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