West Germany, Peru and Colombia feature in our most iconic World Cup kits: 10-1

Matt Jones - Editor 13:15 12/06/2018
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  • You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better strip at the World Cup in Russia than Nigeria’s retro effort – which sold out on the first day of release after a purported three million orders were placed.

    The Super Eagles will hope to soar beyond the group stages, just as they did in Brazil four years ago, and perhaps they’ll even be dreaming of spreading their wings and broadening their horizons by making a first-ever quarter-final appearance.

    However far they go, Gernot Rohr’s men will look good doing it in their effervescent green, white and black shirts – an instant classic.

    England v Nigeria - International Friendly

    It’s a definite winner, but how does it compare to other iconic World Cup strips of the past?

    Being a 2018 model we don’t think it quite deserves a place in the hall of fame just yet. Here, we rank the 20 most memorable from the past 88 years. Today it’s the top-10.

    1 PERU 1978

    Peru 78

    The Mona Lisa of football kits, by which all others must be judged. Breathtakingly simple design with a bold red sash cutting diagonally across a brilliant, bright white shirt. Revolutionary.

    It’s no wonder all future Los Incas kit designers have approached each new design with the simple mantra: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

    2 WEST GERMANY 1990

    Germany 90

    Mercedes, Albert Einstein, Oktoberfest, castles and classical music – just some of the brilliant things Germany has bestowed upon the world. But all of them pale in comparison to this glorious World Cup shirt from a golden era of kits – the 1990s.

    This Italia 90 effort should have seen West Germany presented with the Jules Rimet trophy before the tournament even kicked off. Fortunately the football on the field was just as good (almost) as Lothar Matthaus led his side to victory against hosts Italy and a third World Cup triumph.

    3 COLOMBIA 1990

    Colombia 90

    Speaking of the 90s, feast your eyes on this absolute gem from Colombia, also featuring at Italia 90. When Los Cafeteros stepped back onto the world stage after a 28-year hiatus, perhaps they felt they had to mark the occasion in style.

    Perhaps they wondered how they were going to divert attention away from Carlos Valderrama’s hairdo. Whatever the story behind this shirt, it is magnificent.

    In English, Colombia’s nickname translates to The Coffee Growers. And I just want to drink in the beauty of this jersey.

    4 NETHERLANDS 1974

    Holland 74

    The Dutch revolutionised the beautiful game at the 1974 World Cup in Germany with the invention of Total Football. And in an era where the beauty of Johan Cruyff was introduced to the world stage, one of the game’s most iconic players needed a shirt befitting of his talent.

    Behold then this masterpiece, which is almost as sumptuous as Cruyff and the football this Holland team played en route to the final.

    The only blemish was that they lost in that final to the hosts. Indeed, one of the most heartbreaking facts of international football is that the Dutch are yet to lift the World Cup trophy.

    5 CROATIA 1998

    Croatia 98

    Acquire striking new kit for debut on the grandest football stage of all. Check. Now, make an impact on said world stage. Check.

    Croatia only formed their own football union in 1992, having previously played under the Yugoslavia banner.

    They joined FIFA too late to compete in the qualifiers for the 1994 World Cup but certainly made up for lost time four years later when they finished third at France 98 – a joint-best performance on debut. And they looked amazing while doing so too.

    6 FRANCE 1982

    France 82

    Michel Platini may now have sadly become weighed down in the muddy waters at FIFA, but back in 1982 he was making a splash for all the right reasons – cementing his reputation as one of France’s finest ever footballers.

    A swaggering midfielder was accompanied by the swaggering cockerel adorned on this beautiful pinstriped effort from Adidas, the greatest-ever Les Bleus top.

    7 BRAZIL 1970

    Brazil 1970

    Let’s be real. In terms of best kits, pretty much any effort from the most successful nation in World Cup history could make the cut. We could make a top 20 out of only Brazil shirts.

    Whether it’s the legendary Pele, Jairzinho, Socrates, Garrincha, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo or Neymar, you could sing endless praises of Canarinho players down the years. And with five Jules Rimet trophies to their name, there’s no doubt the Samba Boys have had the world dancing to their beat ever since a maiden trophy was lifted in 1958.

    We went with the 1970 effort as this was the first televised World Cup tournament. The yellow, blue, green and white combined majestically and has captivated football fans ever since.

    8 ARGENTINA 1978

    Argentina 78

    Much like their fellow sultry South Americans Brazil, there are any number of Argentina kits that could have made this list. The beautiful blend of white and sky blue has made for some heavenly jerseys but we plumped for the 1978 version.

    La Albiceleste hosted the tournament and required a special shirt. It was winter in Buenos Aires and so what possibly stands this out from all the other offerings is the birth of long sleeves. Fittingly, Cesar Luis Menotti’s men triumphed on home soil and Mario Kempes won the Golden Boot.

    9 ITALY 1982

    Italy 82

    Spain 82 was a belting tournament for kits, with this Italian effort similar to that of the French as they brought out a simply unforgettable strip.

    The slick v-neck design with collar has become iconic and Azzurri kit manufacturers have often tried to reinvent it in the intervening years.

    They’ve come close, while their design for 1990 was also brilliant, but they haven’t quite managed to eclipse this shirt – which is synonymous with Marco Tardelli’s wild goal celebration against West Germany in the final.

    10 ZAIRE 1974

    Zaire 74

    It’s a pity that Zaire’s (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) only appearance at a World Cup is largely remembered for defender Mwepu Ilunga rushing from a defensive wall as Brazil legends Jairzinho and Rivelino stood over a free-kick and booted the ball downfield in 1974.

    What is criminally overlooked are Zaire’s striking jerseys – green shirts accompanied by a bright yellow v-neck and trim, with the nation’s nickname, the Leopards, emblazoned across the front. Simply stunning.