20 June 1976, Belgrade: “Panenka…oh it’s genius!” So it was described on commentary as Czechoslovakia’s Antonín Panenka bamboozled West German goalkeeper Sepp Maier by delivering one of the most famous penalty kicks of all-time to win the Euro 76 final shoot-out for his country.
As well as genius, the Prague-native was also descried as a “poet” by one on-looking French journalist. Many fans who know the name ‘Panenka/ probably aren’t fully clear on the details of this original ice-cool spotkick or exactly who he played for. Likewise, few will be aware that he amazingly repeated the feat on the international stage less than three years later at home to France – surely much to the amusement of that journalist above – delighting 48,000 in Bratislava by opening the scoring with his cheeky penalty-chip in a 2-0 win.
Around the time of the 1976 tournament, the Czechoslovaks had began transitioning to branded kits with adidas’s three-stripes appearing on their shorts and socks, and a trefoil on some shorts. The game of the second Panenka penalty against the French on April 4, 1979, a Euro qualifier, was also somewhat noteworthy as the first competitive game in which Czechoslovakia wore trefoils on their shirts. The non-competitive debut had been for a friendly at home to Spain the previous month and for both occasions the home side wore their all-white strip. While red-white-blue was seen during the Euro final win and is considered the official home kit, all-white was basically an alt-home attire with the decision, it seems, mostly based on the colour of the opponents’ gear.
West Germany, meanwhile, had begun donning adidas anthem jackets over their Umbro-made kits in the 1960s (and adidas boots for years before that), with the earliest example seeming to be at home to Yugoslavia on October 7, 1967. The various jackets they would wear over the coming years are worthy of their own future article, but the next general evolution came in 1975 when Adidas socks with three stripes were used as part of a change strip away to Austria on September 3. By then, the rest of the gear was being made by Erima, even though adidas had become official supplier to the DFB but initially were not making the kits themselves.
In 1976, with a wave of adidas already now sweeping world football, adidas bought Erima, meaning the whole West Germany kit now belonged to the brand with the three stripes. The top and middle sections of the West German players were kept in unbranded-Erima however, with the socks remaining the only outwardly-Adidas (or outwardly-anything) part of the actual kit. The Erima logo was then added for a friendly at home to the Czechoslovaks on 17 November 1976, oddly positioned under the crest, while the goalkeeper also wore Le Coq Sportif earlier that year at the Euros, adding to the mix.
For a 1977 tour of South America, the Erima logo switched to its more traditional side, but still effectively as part of the old, traditional design. In away colours visiting Sweden on April 19, 1978, a new look was finally debuted which departed from the 60s style with a huge turnover collar, white piping, Erima logo added to the shorts, and green socks with plain white turnovers rather than Adidas-branded. The home version, which featured a more moderate collar with black trim, appeared in the next game – West Germany’s World Cup 78 opener against Poland on June 1, 1978. In 1979, the black sock turnovers were made white for some reason, which would be the final major change heading into the following year’s Euros.
The draw for Euro 1980 in Italy – the first to feature eight participants – pitted the the previous two finalists of Czechoslovakia and West Germany against each other again for the first game in Rome, with Netherlands and Greece joining them in Group 1. For World Cup 78, kit-brand logos such as Erima’s had been allowed by Fifa, but Uefa was a different story. Several countries apparently didn’t get the memo that logos were not to be seen, meaning some interesting last minute modifications.
Only 10,500 turned up to the Stadio Olimpico to watch the competition opener on June 11, 1980, with the biggest crowd of the weekend to come the next day for the host nations’ encounter with Spain in Milan. Unlike that game – which would consist of two very-traditional strips, not even featuring trim let alone branding – those who did attend witnessed a pair of ‘futuristic’ kits in comparison. But the future had its pitfalls and the Czechoslovaks and West Germans were both sides that had ‘forgotten’ the branding rules.
For the West Germany team photo, all outfield players appeared to be in unbranded Ermina shirts, while a trefoil boldly adorned the adidas jersey of goalkeeper Toni Schumacher. A white square, however, had clearly been attached to the black shorts of all 11 to cover the Erima logos and closer shots of outfield shirts reveal that this was the case for those too, the white-on-white having been invisible from a distance.
Czechoslovakia’s new kit for the tournament, which had probably been debuted in friendlies earlier that year, featured a v-inset turnover collar and some very interesting sleeve-stripe configuration. Like Mexico’s Levi’s top in 1978, the middle stripe was unusually the same colour as that of the main shirt, in this case red, with white outer stripes and blue in between – a seemingly unique style in international football (as was Mexico’s, which differed with its red outer stripes and white in between). The adidas logos were also noticeably covered on the Czechoslovak shirts with shiny red tape, while the already unbranded white shorts (apart from stripes) didn’t require modification, except in the case of the goalkeeper’s black pair.
Early in the first half the flimsy tape-jobs began to fail and got progressively worse as more as more vigorous play took place. For the Czechsolvaks, more of their trefoils seemed to remain hidden, but not in the case of midfielder Ján Kozák at least. For some Germans, the Erima on their shirt or shorts only were sooner or later showing, but for others it was both. One man who had been made cover up, after the team photos, was Schumacher who ironically left the field after his side’s 1-0 win as one of the few covered West Germans – the opposite to how it started.
West Germany regrouped for the next match against the Dutch and were ready with brand new shirts, this time definitely devoid of Erima logo. The same could be said for most of the shorts, although at least one had a blacked-over logo and another with the white patch. Schumacher’s shirt was also covered from the start this time. For the last group game against Greece, all the shorts now seemed to have been sorted as uniform plain-black pairs were on show, with the goalkeeper jersey now the only altered item among the squad.
Czechoslovakia used the same kit for their two other group matches, with a couple more instances of the tape coming off but largely remaining successful. The West Germans topped the group with Czechoslovakia coming second, sending the former straight to the final and the latter to the third-place play-off. For that game, the Czecoslovaks wore their all-white away strip, again with adidas logos initially covered. A 1-1 draw meant penalties and at 5-4, Panenka stepped up to keep his country in the tie. He did so, this time without his famous chip, but one thing that clearly was on show was his adidas logo. Eventually he and his compatriots came out on top after a 9-8 slug-fest to claim 3rd in Europe, a step down from last time but better than nothing.
In the final against Belgium, goalkeeper shorts could be re-added to the list of West German apparel that had to be covered, as Schumacher for some reason didn’t wear a bare pair. The other, more obvious change was the outfield shirts as adidas models had now replaced the Erima set, still with no brand logo but stripes on the sleeves for all the watching TV audience to see – apparently a request from adidas HQ. While it would take the shorts a few years to catch up (they were kept Erima until Euro 84 with exception of one away kit in 1983), the Euro 80 final was a historic moment adidas remained on German upper-halves from that point onward until the time of writing, with a trefoil of course introduced directly after Euro 80.