It’s entirely fitting that the adidas design first seen worn by Liverpool and Cork City in 1993-94 – with sets of three bars coming up from the ribs – was officially titled Equipment-Trikot World Cup.
While the design was only given to four countries in the ten-team adidas stable, three of them reached the quarter-finals with two going on to the semi-finals and there were two direct match-ups.
One of them occurred on this day, July 10, as Sweden faced Romania in the last eight. Though Norway, who had the style for their primary kit but not their secondary, were eliminated after the group stage (unluckily, having finished with the same number of points as the other three teams in their group), Bulgaria also had this design and their surprise win over Germany earlier in the day had given them a semi-final spot for the first time.
Sweden and Romania faced each other at Stanford Stadium with Sweden seeking to bridge a gap going back to 1958 and Romania also hoping for a maiden semi-final appearance.
Both countries favoured mainly yellow kits with blue and red as backing colours, though the red on the Swedish shirt was limited to discreet trim on the neck.
On the Romania kit, the adidas wordmark was in blue on the shirts and shorts but red on the socks while the neck was red with yellow and blue trim but the cuffs were blue with yellow and red. Sweden’s shirts were cuffless, a rare example of this design not having them.
A change was needed, of course.
Romania were the ‘home’ team but, as Sweden’s change kit was all-white, Fifa deemed that it wouldn’t provide enough differentiation to yellow in the San Francisco sun and so they decided that both countries should change.
Romania played in all-red with yellow and blue stripes – in opposite order on the socks compared to the shirts and shorts but the neck and cuffs were now matching. As on their home kit, Sweden didn’t have the adidas wordmark on their socks.
After 77 scoreless minutes, Tomas Brolin put Sweden ahead with a goal from a free kick routine similar to that from which Javier Zanetti would score against England four years later. However, Florin Răducioiu scored a late equaliser to force extra time and then he put Romania ahead before Kennet Andersson made it 2-2, sending the game to penalties. Goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli would prove to be the Swedish hero, with saves from Dan Petrescu and Miodrag Belodedici.
They advanced to play Brazil in the semi-finals – another game with two teams in change kits – and the third-place play-off against Bulgaria would see another template match-up. Romania would also play Brazil not long after – another outing for the red shirts, but this time with two blue bars and one yellow.