World Football: Top 10 International Kits of 2012-13
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There is nothing more enthusiastically welcomed by the crazed football fanatic than a decent international kit.
Worn by thousands of supporters on gamedays and touted around at continental and world championships, the national team jersey has the unique and powerful ability to let everyone know exactly where you are from and who you support.
Unlike the new United States international kit, which has us asking "Where's Waldo?" the next 10 strips represent the best of Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia in world football.
Togo’s kit for the current year is one of three representatives from Africa.
Usually, with elegant illustrations of native animal species, most African kits are either hit or miss. However, Togo’s is simple enough to look classy, but bright and flairy enough to catch the eye.
The Sparrow Hawks are best known for unexpectedly qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.
In 2010, they suffered a fatal attack in the run up to the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola.
Their most famous player over the years has been Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor.
Australia is not known for having flashy kits.
Their mustard yellow home jersey has grown more familiar to soccer fans over the years as the Oceania nation—although they now compete in Asia—qualified for two back-to-back World Cups in 2006 and 2010.
This classy looking away jersey for the following international season uses the same vertical line design as their home kit, but looks significantly more impressive.
On the world stage, Tim Cahill is arguably Australia’s most famous player, though many such as Harry Kewell, Brett Holman and Mark Bresciano have plied their trade in some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Switzerland shocked the world in 2010 by pulling off a 1-0 victory against World Cup favorites Spain.
They followed up the victory by failing to get out of the group stage and then not qualifying for this year’s European Championship.
Their 2012-13 kit uses the typical Swiss red with a shrewd design along the right shoulder blade that sticks out and is becoming popular among European teams.
In this image, Napoli star Gökhan İnler displays the jersey that will be worn as the Swiss battle against the likes of Norway and Slovenia to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Although they did not have high expectations, being the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament at 52, they bowed out quite feebly in the group stage despite some controversy.
Andriy Schevchenko is arguably the most recognized player on the team, being their top-scorer and having graced sides like AC Milan and Chelsea.
This 2012-13 away kit is one of the strongest in Europe and vaunts a powerful shade of blue with pleasantly unusual etchings that mirror the image on the Ukrainian shield.
It surely was a shame that we could not see more of this jersey in this summer’s Euros.
Botswana is far from being a familiar name in world football.
However, in 2010-11 they topped a group including Tunisia and Togo to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations.
While they did bow out in the group stage, the continent was able to witness the minnows play some enjoyable football in their classy baby blue and black home kits, which aim to resemble their national flag.
Tshepo Motlhabankwe is the Zebra’s most famous player and is currently starring in midfield for Heracles Almelo of the Dutch Eredivise after several years in South African football.
Ghana won plaudits at the 2010 World Cup by making it farther than any other African nation before facing a cruel end at the hands of Uruguay.
One of the top African footballing sides for years, Ghana has produced stars like Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan that have plied their trade in both Italy and England.
Although finishing in the top four in each of the previous three Africa Cup of Nations, Ghana has often failed to live up to its potential and has not won a major tournament in the past two decades.
Regardless, in this stunning red and orange kit they look to qualify for the third consecutive time for the World Cup and be African champions for the first time since 1982.
Croatia is perhaps the best of the Balkan sides to have emerged after the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
While they have proven impressive in qualifying for three consecutive European Championships and managed to finish third in the 1998 FIFA World Cup due to the lethal goalscoring of Davor Suker, Croatia has often been criticized for its raucous fans an inability to kill off larger sides.
Croatia, currently the eight-ranked soccer nation according to the FIFA World Rankings, is also famous for its checker-board home jersey.
However, their 2012-13 away kit is perhaps more elegant, utilizing a more subtle version of the checkers in a style similar to Switzerland.
In all honesty, Bhutan was only included in this list because Tibet is not part of FIFA and play instead in FIFI against other regional teams that consider themselves independent countries but are not internationally recognized.
Tibet’s jersey was slightly more eye-catching, but their South Asian neighbor’s bright orange and yellow kit is one of the more unique in all of Asia and looks good on the diminutive players.
By all standards, Bhutan is farther from being a halfway decent footballing nation than England was from playing tiki-taka against Italy over the weekend. But, they did manage a semi-final appearance in the 2008 SAFF Championship, which they lost to India.
That was perhaps their most notable footballing achievement.
Serbia is inarguably one of the biggest sides to miss out on this summer’s European Championship.
Boasting players as respected in the game as Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovic and Dejan Stankovic, they have coupled defensive prowess with powerful finishing over recent years to qualify for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and rise up the FIFA World Rankings to 13th in July 2010.
This striking red kit, with a superimposed cross, encompasses Serbian strength and should surely shine as they aim to qualify for Brazil in 2014.
Many would say that Greece is recognizable for its warrior spirit and siege mentality as a nation.
In football, however, the Greeks are most famous for their incredibly negative tactics and swift counterattacking.
They illustrated this best as they won Euro 2004 against all odds and more recently eliminated a wasteful, but dominant Russia side with only one shot on goal in this year's European Championship.
This strong blue away kit is arguably more attractive than the Greek's white home strip and looks even more intimidating on bulky players such as Giorgos Karagounis as they close down on opposing attacks.