As one of the major Nike sides, Portugal had to undergo the same Nike Vapor makeover as everybody else in 2016; when they won that year’s European Championship, it wasn’t a huge surprise that they retained red shorts and green socks for the 2018 World Cup.
It’s rumoured that the new kit for Euro 2020 will see green shorts returned and it was a surprise to us to learn that this feature, which we associate so readily with Portugal, hasn’t been seen on a new kit since 2004.
This was the year that the country hosted the European Championship and it was seen as the last chance for their ‘golden generation’, the group of players that had won U20 world titles in 1989 and 1991.
Nike’s templating was strong back then, too, but they retained countries’ traditional colour-schemes and the Total 90 design worked very well in the Portugal colours, with silhouettes of the crest running throughout the fabric. However, we didn’t like the pool-ball-like circle around the numbers back then and we still don’t like it now.
Portugal were able to wear this kit in all of their games. They began against expected whipping boys Greece but were the first of many to be Rehhagelled.
That meant Russia and then Spain had to be beaten in order to progress to the knockout stages but when England were seen off on penalties and the Netherlands were beaten in the semi-finals, it looked like the fairytale would materialise.
The final was a re-match of the opening game and, while Greece wore white in the decider having played in blue in the first meeting, the outcome was the same. Twelve years later, Portugal would gain solace though, as they were the party-poopers who beat the hosts in the final.