In just over two weeks’ time, England will play their first game of 2018, a friendly against the Netherlands.

One would expect that England will wear their new Nike kit, signalling a return to the traditional look of white shorts, navy shorts and white socks and an end to the Nike Vapor white-white-red offering which has persisted since 2016 (click here to listen to John Devlin talk to Jay from Design Football about that strip).

When that kit was launched, much was made of how similar it was to the combination worn against Brazil in 1984, as if that should be the basis for a kit (we don’t know what they came up with to justify all of the other countries who had mismatching socks with their new kits), but that wasn’t even the first time it had been used against the South Americans.

As part of its ever-excellent service, England Football Online has a listing of the colours worn in internationals since 1949, and according to that, the first time England wore white-white-red was in 1959, a 2-0 loss in the Maracanã.


Unlike 1984, which was a shorts and socks change, this was only a shorts-switch, as at the time red was the first-choice colour for the socks. Bukta replaced Umbro soon afterwards and the socks rotated for a while before white reassumed its superiority.

At the time, match details for each game were incorporated below the crest, a practice which was revived on the 2009 shirt.

Another enforced change was that of goalkeeper Edward Hopkinson’s shirt. As his normal yellow clashed with the Brazil kit, he was in blue, with the shorts and socks giving the air of a France strip.