Twice as Nice – Sweden, 2002
- Thanks to Mick Clifford for his assistance in putting this together
When Sweden launched the kits they intended to wear at the 2002 World Cup, Fifa looked to avoid the issues that had arisen eight years previously.
On their journey to finishing third at the 1994 tournament, Sweden had twice worn a white change kit – however, due to concerns over white against yellow, both Romania and Brazil had to change too, making for double away-kit match-ups in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
Perhaps they were looking for inspiration from the successful time in America when they brought out a white shirt with yellow sleeves).
However, with Fifa preferring light v dark – and the fact that the yellow sleeves might have been troublesome – they asked the Swedish federation to come up with an alternative, meaning the white kit never appeared on the pitch.
Instead, Sweden had to go down a familiar route of reversing the yellow and blue from their home strip.
This emergency shirt was first seen in their World Cup opener on June 2, a 1-1 draw against England, paired with the original white away shorts and blue socks.
Then, five days later, the 2-1 win over Nigeria saw Sweden clad in all-blue against their opponents’ all-white change kit. However, Sweden might have been wondering if they were subjected to double standards – Nigeria’s home was a very light shade of green and a darker second strip should really have been used.
For their last group game, Sweden were in their traditional strip as a draw with Argentina gave them top spot and they were also wearing yellow shirts and blue shorts in the extra-time defeat to Senegal in the last 16.
Of course, it should also be noted that, in that year’s World Cup final, Brazil beat Germany with both countries wearing their first-choice shirts as Fifa allowed yellow v white.
Sweden were able to wear yellow for the remainder of their fixtures in 2002, meaning the blue shirt retired undefeated – Umbro replaced adidas at the beginning of 2003, though Sweden have been back in the three stripes since 2013.
2 thoughts on “Twice as Nice – Sweden, 2002”
I remember a Swedish friend telling me back in 2002 when these kits were launched that FIFA had an issue with the away strip due to the yellow sleeves, so an alternative had to be issued. To be honest the blue strip looked better, as white and yellow don’t particularly go well together, plus they evoked previous Swedish away kits of the past (blue-white-blue combination).
Sweden once again have a white change kit which presumably would have been used at the 2022 World Cup if they had qualified. I suspect FIFA would have allowed it though because unlike the 1994 and 2002 white kits it has no blocks of colour on it.