The World Cup in Russia is fast approaching, and sportswear brands are slowly but surely releasing their kits for various nations ahead of the tournament.
The powers that be at Nike, Puma and adidas have been working hard in their respective design rooms and it looks like there is going to be some absolutely beautiful strips on show (looking at you Portugal, Argentina and Mexico), but which kits worn by European nations down the years have been among the best?
Disclaimer: Apologies in advance if the following choices fall short of your expectations, there are literally hundreds of the buggers to choose from!
1. West Germany Away – 1990
One of the very best, period.
There’d never really been anything quite like it, and there’s never really been anything quite like it since.
So good is this kit that even teenagers today trawl eBay in order to get their grubby mits on this masterpiece of a shirt so they can go down to their local 5-a-side and lap up the praise for being so hipster.
The mosaic-y style white patches combined with the emerald green is a combination of beauty, and clearly the players that year felt like the dog’s b*******, going on to win the World Cup in Italy.
2. Holland Home – 1978
Holland’s first strip in the late 1970s remains one of the nation’s best to date – there is something just really aesthetically pleasing about that shade or orange with the jet black adidas crest and three stripe trademark.
It is relatively minimalist, but undeniably serves as one of the most vibrant kits in the history of international football. Special mention also to the 1988 Germany-esque effort.
3. Germany Home – 1990
Germany were just showing everybody up in the late 80s.
As well as their dazzling away kit, they also had a wonderfully unique home jersey which is also coveted by collectors today.
The white base was complemented by a jagged pattern emblazoned across the chest in the yellow, black and red colours of the national flag.
4. Croatia Home – 2014
Croatia have had some ugly kits down the years but the home get up from 2014 was a great job on the part of Nike.
The classic chequered red and white squares with the surprisingly nice finish of the blue number in the centre of the shirt and tick on the chest really made heads turn, and probably sent some opposing players into a seizure that year…
5. Belgium Home – 1982
Probably one of the most Marmite football kits ever made, but ‘yer da’ definitely loves it.
The Belgium home kit from 1982 sports the red, black and yellow colours of the national flag along with white shorts.
The most interesting aspect of the kit is definitely those yellow strips that run from shoulder to thigh for no apparent reason. It’s probably better to just accept rather than to try and understand. You can’t say it’s not unique!
6. England Away – 1966
Nope, no bias here…
About as minimalist as you can get… and yet, it is a thing of beauty. And victory. Sweet, sweet victory.
We’ve been let down so many times on the international stage over the years since the 1966 World Cup triumph so please, allow just this one thing.
7. Denmark Home – 2002
Perhaps not the first kit that comes to mind when you think about the best kits to have been showcased by European nations down the years – but Denmark’s 2002 strip deserves a mention.
They may not be a powerhouse footballing nation like the Germans or the French or the Spanish, but low key they don’t half turn out in some nice strips.
An honourable mention to the nation’s intriguing 1986 kit for their first ever World Cup appearance, but the 2002 bold red and white chevron version is probably the nicest in their history.