Whenever the England national team’s kit is discussed, there is a variation on Godwin’s Law in that, eventually, somebody will proffer the view that the kit should white and red because they are the colours of St George’s Flag.
Inevitably, the next response will cite examples where the strip doesn’t follow the flag, such as Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
The latter’s nickname is Oranje, it being the historic national colour, relating to the ruling House of Orange, with the ‘Prince’s Flag‘, a horizontal orange, white and blue tricolour, having been in use before being replaced by the ‘Statenvlag‘.
Orange and white have been the favoured colours – black crept in in the 1970s as a trim – and while there were some dalliances with blue change shirts in the late 1990s and early 2000s, generally the colours of the home shirt were reversed.
For the 2006 World Cup though, Nike opted for something different, as they looked to the past. On the primary kit, the addition of blue socks harked back to the 1930s and referenced the Prince’s Flag, though in the World Cup they ended up wearing all-orange in their group games against Serbia and Montenegro, Ivory Coast and Argentina.
A second-placed finish behind Argentina meant a last-16 tie with Portugal and a first outing for the change strip. While white remained as the base colour, a sash in the flag colours was a nod to the kit worn in the country’s first-ever international, against Belgium in 1905.
Interestingly, the sash was also repeated on the back of the left sock, but not the right.
Sadly for the Dutch, a goal from Maniche in an ill-tempered game dubbed The Battle of Nuremburg ended their interest in the competition, but they would reach the final and semi-finals respectively in the next two World Cups. The country is currently going through a low period football-wise, meaning they won’t be in Russia this summer.