Croatia can often be a problem for the people charged with determining the kits to be worn at major finals.

They wore their first-choice kit – red and white chequered shirts, white shorts and blue socks – in two of their three group games at the 2014 World Cup, against Brazil and Cameroon (though in the former case, only because Brazil made a special request that they be allowed to wear their famous yellow-blue-white in their opening game as hosts). Those instances were exceptions in the modern era. though.

More often than not, if the home shirt is worn, it’s with white socks, as against Nigeria in the current competition, or else they have to wear their change kit – they aren’t helped, of course, that many red teams have white away kits and vice-versa.

The 2002 World Cup was different, though. None of their fellow Group G competitors, Italy, Ecuador or Mexico, caused a shirt clash with Croatia, though each would require a mixing and matching of home and away elements.

First up was the Mexico game, with both sides having white first-choice shorts, while Fifa considered that Mexico’s red socks would be troublesome too, so they wore green-white-white as Croatia wore blue shorts as they lost 1-0.

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Next up was a clash with Italy, who were considered the home team for the game, with their first kit having white shorts and blue socks, the same as Croatia’s.

When the countries met in Euro 2012, Italy changed shorts and Croatia socks, but here it was deemed acceptable that Croatia would switch to blue shorts with Italy unchanged.

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Croatia won that game 2-1 despite falling behind, meaning they were level with Italy on three points ahead of their last game against Ecuador, who had been eliminated after losing both of their games, while Mexico were through after two wins.

Perhaps it was down to the strange feeling of wearing their away shirts with white shorts and socks, but Croatia lost 1-0, meaning that Italy and Mexico could play out a mutually-beneficial 1-1 draw to ensure that they both qualified as Croatia went home.

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