The Women’s World Cup begins this Thursday, July 20, with the USA looking to win the competition for the third consecutive time and the fifth in all, having claimed two of the first three editions.
Within the past decade, women’s football has come into its own, with most top national teams now given their own bespoke kits compared to their male counterparts but three decades ago things were very different.
As mentioned by David Squires in his Guardian cartoon this week, the eventual champions at the inaugural World Cup in China wore kit that was a hand-me-down from the men’s youth team.
At least it was a cutting-edge design, with the adidas ‘Equipment A’ look having premiered only a few months previously.
The following year, a simplified crest would be introduced but this one had a real ‘Team America’ feel to it.
Sweden, Brazil and Japan were seen off as the US topped their group. At the time, Japan wore red shirts, white shorts and red socks but the game was played with both teams in white socks.
However, following a quarter-final win over Chinese Taipei, the semi-final against Germany necessitated a mashup.
Germany won the toss and were in the classic kit first seen at Euro 88 – though the inclusion of a number on the front of the shirt does feel a bit disconcerting.
For the first time at the tournament, the US were in their all-blue change jerseys – the same Equipment design, but for some reason lacking any red.
It meant that the home shorts jarred slightly.
The mashup didn’t unduly affect the USA as they won 5-2 and they went on to beat Norway – who switched to red shorts – in the final. Incidentally, Germany lost to Sweden in third-placed play-off while wearing the green change design that the men’s team only wore once, against England two months previously.
The following year, the USA would go on to wear the reverse mashup – home shirts with away shorts – against Norway and Portugal in the Algarve Cup.
In 1993, adidas would give the USA a blue, white and red change kit, but it was in the ‘Equipment B’ design, with a set of bars over each shoulder.