The World Cup Group F clash with Belgium was Croatia’s 48th game at a major finals and it served to equalise their kits tally across that period.
With a first-choice shirt that generally featured red and white checks, evenly distributed, Croatia often find themselves meeting red countries with white change kits (e.g. Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain) or white countries with red change kits (England, Poland, Turkey).
When the draw was made for the 2022 World Cup, Croatia found themselves with Belgium, Canada and Morocco, all of whom usually line out in red, but the new primary kit provided by Nike has allowed them to avoid change in their three games.
While the design essentially deletes some red checks and isn’t as elegant as the 1998 ‘flag’ offering, the dominance of white has meant that Fifa have allowed it against the first kits of Morocco and again against Belgium (Canada wore their all-black third strip).
The three-in-a-row for the home kit means that, since their first appearance at a finals in Euro 96, Croatia will have played 24 matches in their usual colours and 24 in alternatives (white at Euro 96, generally shades of blue, grey or black thereafter).
Though they changed for five matches out of the seven they played as they reached the 2018 World Cup final, their tally prior to that tournament was ten matches in home kit and five in away – they didn’t change at all at the World Cups of 2006 or 2014.
The prevalence of red/white countries in Europe means that, of 22 matches played at European Championships, Croatia have only worn checks in seven, with 15 appearances in alternative strips, including all four outings at Euro 2008.
With Japan as the last-16 opponents for Croatia, the home kit is set to move ahead once again.