Hopefully you’ll forgive the self-plagiarism but, before Euro 2016, The Irish Examiner asked us to evaluate the kits on show and we gushed about Spain’s:
‘Stunning’ is a word one could apply to both of the holders’ kits, though using two very different meanings of the word. The home is a classic, with blue shorts and black socks used for the first time in more than 20 years – squint your eyes and you can almost see Emilio Butragueño and Michel.
Adidas have moved their three stripes on the kits of their top-level countries, as the rules on sleeve patches demand that a blank space be left and this was curtailing the famous trademark. The yellow stripes link the red shirt and blue shorts well.
The away is eye-catching and calls to mind the kits worn by the USSR and Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup, when geometric patterns were all the rage. The whole look may not appeal to the purists, it’s a Marmite kit but we fall down on the ‘love’ side.
If we have one regret, it’s that we got the home socks colour wrong – they were a Father Ted-like very, very, very dark blue rather than black, but otherwise it was a great look.
The away shirt’s pattern apparently representing the heat-map of Fernando Torres’ goal against Italy in the Euro 2012 final, but it proved to be quite the unlucky charm, as they lost to both Croatia and Italy at the European Championship while wearing it.
Come the World Cup qualifying campaign that autumn, it had been replaced by a plainer shirt – it was reported that the change was down to FIFA, but it was hardly likely to clash with any red opponents and it could just have been that they thought it was cursed.
The new offering was first worn away to Albania in October and its inaugural usage was overshadowed by the incident that led to Gerard Piqué announcing that he would retire after the World Cup – see here for a fine piece on the issue by Jay from Design Football.
If it were up to us, we’d have gone back in time. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Spain would have white ‘tournament aways’, i.e. where countries were required to have one dark kit and one light one, but then would opt for blue alternatives in ‘ordinary’ time.
The desire for dark v light in qualifying games as well as final tournaments meant that it probably wasn’t a runner.
In any case, adidas’s approach of slightly different fonts for away kits during this time period meant that, if a blue change shirt was used with the home shorts, there would have been a mismatch there.