Back in black: Mexico end a 72-year World Cup wait
Before the last World Cup, we featured the change kit worn by Italy against France in the 1938 World Cup quarter-finals.
While white is generally the Italian alternative colour, that last-eight tie en route to a second successive triumph saw them in an all-black kit – it is said that this was at the behest of Benito Mussolini, drawing a link to the Blackshirts, though we don’t know how true that is.
Thereafter, though, with black reserved for match officials, the colour was only seen on goalkeepers at World Cups). Then, even after the 1994 World Cup saw a more varied wardrobes for referees and linesmen, black remained absent from the outfield kit spectrum – by and large, countries continued to opt for reversals of their traditional colours.
It wasn’t until the opening match of the 2010 World Cup that the run without a black kit was ended, with hosts South Africa taking on a Mexican team who had the same template as theirs, a black strip trimmed in green and red.
In their final group game against Paraguay, New Zealand would don their all-black change kit – unfortunately for them, a third straight draw would see them exit the competition undefeated – while Germany were seen in all-black (away shirts and socks with home shorts) against Ghana and Argentina.
So popular would the black kit prove to be for Mexico – whose first-choice kit in South Africa featured white, rather the usual red, socks – that they have had a few black primary strips in recent times, though green is always in situ for El Tri when the World Cup comes around.